Smart liquid fuels touch screen for visually impaired
Austrian firm Blitab Technology has developed a tactile tablet for blind and visually impaired people that converts text into Braille letters on its screen. With touch screens proliferating in today’s environments, being used for everything from wayfaring to room booking – not to mention the use of mobile devices – Blitab is seeking to eliminate an obstacle with touch technology that has left the blind and visually impaired largely excluded.
The Blitab tablet uses ‘smart liquid’ that creates bubbles in the tablet’s surface which instantly generates Braille text. The creators call the bubbles ‘tixels’ (from tactile pixels), and USB sticks, web browsers or NFC tags can all be used to deliver text files that are instantly converted into Braille.
With an estimated 285 million people the world that are blind or visually impaired, Blitab sees a huge potential market for its technology. Multinational companies have already taken an interest, with Barclays Bank in the UK investigating whether it could be used to assist blind or visually impaired customers in its facilities. The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), also in the UK, has also been looking into the technology.
It is hoped the first products will reach in the market in September 2016, provided the necessary investment is forthcoming to take it out of the prototype stage.