jueves, 19 de abril de 2007

Dispositivo braille de bajo coste

He encontrado la siguiente noticia en itWoldCanada, Virtual Braille Opens Employment Doors for Visually Impaired. El resumen de la noticia (en inglés) dice:

McGill University researchers are developing an inexpensive tactile translation system called Virtual Braille (VB) designed to enable sight-impaired users to read what is on a computer screen. McGill Centre for Intelligent Machines director Vincent Hayward says the model currently being developed, Stimulator of Tactile Receptor by Skin Stretch squared (STReSS2), is "a smaller and simpler device with fewer moving parts" than others on the market. The prototype's interface pad contains 64 miniature ceramic slabs called "benders" that move laterally as the device detects words on the computer screen, translating the text into Braille. As the benders contact a user's finger tips, they create Braille through temporary "lateral skin deformations." Users keep their finger tip on the pad, which they move mouse-like across a surface, unlike other computer Braille readers that require users to move their finger across a pad to feel the dots. The team is looking into implementing the technology into a mouse, which would allow users to scan the entire screen, rather than limiting them to a single line at a time, although the researchers must figure out how to prevent the user from "getting lost" on the page. Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Library in Toronto manager Debbie Gillespie says that with this mouse concept, "You could have an entire screen of information literally at your fingertips." CNIB national director of consumer goods and assistive technologies Jeff Fitzgibbon explains that today's tactile translation devices run from $5,000 to above $10,000, discouraging companies from hiring the blind. He says, "Anything that can be done to make information more readily available will have a definite positive effect on the society, labor and the economy."

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