[NFB-Braille-Discussion] Multi-line refreshable braille - originally about Canute display

Mike Jolls mrspock56 at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 1 12:58:04 UTC 2019

Then let’s hope there are enough use-cases to warrant further development so this technology can reach maturity.  Are you aware of a timeframe the experts think this will require to be viable?  Of course that may be difficult to say.  How can you say … “I’m going to be a genius in 5 years”.

Thanks for the information.

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From: Donald Winiecki<mailto:dwiniecki at handid.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2019 11:10 AM
To: NFB Braille Discussion List<mailto:nfb-braille-discussion at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Mike Jolls<mailto:mrspock56 at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [NFB-Braille-Discussion] Multi-line refreshable braille - originally about Canute display

Yes. There are such technologies in development. I work with a scientist who is actively researching and applying this technology. Current focus is in medical applications. However, speed of movement is still very very slow compared to what would be required in a braille device, and the distance of movements still not as far as would be required to create comfortable braille reading.

I suspect the technology will have to be refined and mature in more lucrative applications before it is adapted to braille devices. That said, the benefits are undeniable. It could offer lighter and more reliable operation than the micro magnetic and piezoelectric devices now available.

The multi-line Canute is mechanical and so far is showing itself to suit a niche that simply did not exist previously with one-line displays. It can be very valuable in education, STEM, law, and in music where its multi-line display and apparent durability will be a major boon. I’m sure Bristol is quite busy with future plans.


On Nov 30, 2019, at 9:07 AM, Mike Jolls via NFB-Braille-Discussion <nfb-braille-discussion at nfbnet.org<mailto:nfb-braille-discussion at nfbnet.org>> wrote:
I’m reposting this as I erroneously sent it to one person.  I wanted to hear from the entire list.

This was originally about the new Canute mechanical display.

While I appreciate the fact that a company has finally tried to create  a multi-line braille display (the Canute) … something that people have been wanting for some time … I think that what people would really want (and you all can correct me if I’m wrong) would be a very portable device, such as a tablet like an iPad, that was easily transportable, which supported multiple lines of Braille.

I haven’t actually seen the Canute.  Some comments are that it’s a large desk model.  Some have also said it’s a bit noisy.  The best design of course is one that is relatively lightweight, and relatively quiet (that is if you can do it).  If a tablet could be produced that could “pop multiple lines of braille out of the screen”, that would seem a good fit.  Pop the dots right out of the surface of the tablet (you actually deform the tablet surface as there are no “holes” with pins that are pushed up through them as in current displays), read the page, hit a button, then pull them back to the screen and pop out the next page of dots.  It would have to be a large screen, such as used in a tablet.  There would be a lot of rows.  Quiet operation.  if it was built like a tablet, and you had various apps that could recognize different file types, well then you could read a lot of different types of material in one place (PDFs, Word documents, etc…).  Just have your data on the cloud or on a memory stick and load it to the tablet and you’re ready.  Then go into braille mode.  You do it all on the tablet.  No external braille display needed.

In my last email. I was asking if anybody had heard about a company called Tactus Technology that had been working on plastics that could be “deformed”.  I believe I contacted them about 7 or 8 years ago.  They said they were at least thinking about an application for Braile and tablets.  If that is possible, , this could make portable Braille that is very light, and which had a lot of lines.  It seems that would really be a winning combination.

I was wondering if anybody had heard anything about progress with this potential technology?  Has anything been said in NFB circles?  Is the NFB even aware of this possibility?

What do you all think of a technology if it could deliver such a solution?

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