Reading monitors and logos in public can be a challenge for people who rely on Braille, but a new system could make things easier,media reported. HaptiRead is a haptic feedback device that accurately copies Braille text in the air by using ultrasonic pulses.
Typically, Braille is used in public either by using fixed nodes on signage or by refreshing braille displays to achieve a more dynamic display, but there are many problems with both. First, they have a hard time guiding users to interact with it, second, they present very limited information, and the moving parts may become clogged over time, although many people have health problems when they come into contact with the same surface, especially at this particular time.
HaptiRead was created to solve all these problems. It is understood that the system consists of 256 ultrasonic converters, its emission frequency can be up to 200hz, which is enough to allow the user to feel the pressure on the skin. This technique has previously been used to create holograms that people can touch.
It is understood that the device can project up to eight contacts into the air up to 70 cm away, which can be used to represent different characters in the Braille alphabet. The built-in Leap Motion depth sensor camera recognizes the position of the user’s hand and points the ultrasonic wave at the hand. This can help guide the user to use the device in the first place. In addition, since it does not have moving parts, there is no clogging, and the user does not need to actually touch the surface to eliminate hygiene problems. The system can also be used to display more complex information, such as charts and graphs.
The researchers tested how best to render text. They used three different methods — the constant method, where all points in a cell are displayed at the same time, the line-by-line method, which projects rows of points sequentially, and the point-by-point method, which shows only one point at a time.
The team tested 18 nearsighted people and 11 blind people on HaptiRead. Of the two groups of participants, the results of point-by-point method were the best — the average accuracy of the myopia group was 94%, and the blind group was 88%. Participants also reported that point-by-point methods were less demanding of spirit than other methods.
The team says they still have a lot of testing and development work to do, but preliminary research suggests that haptiRead technology is promising.