Braille Touchscreen Could Bring iPhones to the Blind
While Yosi Bar-Cohen was staying the night in a hotel hosting a conference for the blind, the NASA researcher had an idea. Electroactive polymers (or EAPs), the same technology used in prosthetic limbs, could be fitted with sensors that would contract or move when exposed to voltage. If packed tightly enough, the EAP could serve as a translator for wireless devices. Dots would rise and fall depending on signals, turning the iPhone into a much more tactile experience.
The technology would not just benefit the blind, says Bar-Cohen. He told Popular Science that the actuators could be used to benefit billions of people, by placing the EAP on anything where sensory perception is needed. Brian MacDonald, President of National Braille Press, described uses for the sighted, like a steering wheel that could sense if a driver was sleepy, triggering an alarm in the event. As of now, most of this technology is just hypothetical, but Bar-Cohen is planning an international conference next spring to share his findings -- and hopefully start rethinking possibilities for the blind. [From: Popular Science]