Innovation That Matters

Braille-writing software for touchscreen devices

Work & Lifestyle

Undergraduate Adam Duran recently created software that allows the visually-impaired to write using a standard touchscreen tablet.

Every summer the Army High-Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC) invites a select group of undergraduates from across the US to a two-month advanced computing programme at Stanford University. There they must compete to find a solution to a tasked challenge. This year’s winning creation was a piece of software that enables the visually-impaired to write using a standard touchscreen tablet. Currently, devices exist on the market to help blind people write Braille and send email, but these are often clunky pieces of equipment and can cost between USD 3,000 and USD 6,000. Student winner Adam Duran — with the help of his mentors Adrian Lew and Sohan Dharmaraja — explains “a standard tablet has more capability at a tenth of the price”, and so set out to create touchscreen software for people that can’t see. Instead of the user having to find buttons on the screen, the technology builds buttons around the user’s fingers. By touching eight fingers to the glass, the keys orient themselves and the keyboard is built. To interact with menu options, the user drags their finger across the screen, and the keyboard can be reset simply by lifting the eight fingers off the glass and setting them back down again. The software is designed to be applied to any touchscreen device, giving the visually impaired an efficient, cost effective and portable writing device. The video below explains the touchscreen braille writer in more detail: Once again, modern advancements in technology continue to open new doors for those with disabilities. One to be inspired by! Spotted by: Murtaza Patel



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