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37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Braille Dots Serving 21st Century Needs

Date & Time
Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 1:20 PM PST  
Orange County  
Braille readers have had to sacrifice braille formatting for many years to have dynamic content. The most effective way tactile users have received dynamic content has been to use a single-line braille display. This was a limitation primarily caused by the cost of the cells but thanks to a revolution in cell technology, we are now close to realizing the dream of multi-line, dynamic electronic braille that also can accurately display tactile graphics. This presentation will present the work that has been done on this display so far, including summarizing the expert review process APH already undertook to establish the display size that was chosen and discuss features and opportunities that we are exploring with this tool. In terms of braille support, the primary initiative of this project is to offer multi-line, formatted dynamic braille similar to that of a physical textbook. The reader will adjust the formatting and method of display on the fly. If they come across a table, they will view it spatially or use one of the listed variations, whichever they or their teacher feels will help them understand the content. To achieve all this, APH has been hard at work on a new electronic braille format they are calling EBRF. With these Dynamic Tactile Displays, combined with a new textbook format of EBRF, students will be able to begin receiving their textbooks electronically without sacrificing spatial formatting or professionally created tactile graphics. This dynamic braille won't stop at viewing either. Users will be able to edit and create their formatted braille documents in real-time. For the first time, people that are blind will be able to make and review formatted braille on a refreshable braille device. They can take advantage of the automatic formatting rules and translation options that aren't available on a mechanical braille writer or single-line braille display. These options will extend to math content as well. From utilizing tools to translate MathML to braille and back again to facilitate communication between students and non-braille reading teachers to using a suite of graphing calculator tools to make tactile graphs on the fly, students will be empowered to explore content in real-time. While students will still benefit from prepared graphics, they won't be limited. Teachers will be able to share or cast images from their phone or laptop to the device so the student can participate in true impromptu learning. The teacher could even be connected to a projector, working with the class as a whole, and send that same info to the student with the dynamic display. Testing will be a crucial part of this project to help us make this dream a reality. Audience members are encouraged to contact APH to join us on this incredible journey. This is new territory for braille and graphics, and together we will help define the future of dynamic tactile content.  
  • Higher Education
  • Disability Specific
  • K-12 Education
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • Research & Development
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
An introduction to the Dynamic Tactile Device project that APH and HumanWare have been working on for the past two years. Progress and findings will be shared along with the goals and direction of the project.  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Education
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Research


  • Greg Stilson
    American Printing House for the Blind
  • William Freeman
    American Printing House for the Blind

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