[nfb-talk] Fw: Tectile mouse for blind computer users
edmeskys at roadrunner.com
Wed Nov 25 14:27:11 CST 2009
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edmeskys @ roadrunner.com
----- Original Message -----
From: "Fred Lerner" <Fred.Lerner at Dartmouth.EDU>
To: <edmeskys at roadrunner.com>
Sent: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 3:21 PM
Subject: Tectile mouse for blind computer users
This was in the Eonomist online today.
A tactile mouse helps blind people to use the internet
COMPUTERS have become such an integral part of life, in the rich world at
that even social networking is done online. The blind, however, are often
from such interactions. Now a system has been developed to make it easier
blind people to navigate the internet, use word-processing software and even
the shapes of graphs and charts. Its inventors hope it will enable more
people to work in offices.
The system developed by staff at Tactile World, an Israeli company, uses a
that looks similar to a conventional computer mouse. On its top, however, it
two pads, each with 16 pins arranged in a four-by-four array. Software
with the mouse translates text displayed on the screen into Braille.
In traditional Braille, numbers and letters are represented by raised bumps
the paper of the page being read. The pins on the mouse take the role of
bumps. As the cursor controlled by the mouse is moved across the screen, the
rise and fall to represent the text across which they are moving. One pad
the character under the cursor, the other gives the reader information about
is coming next, such as whether it is a letter or the end of the word. This
information makes interpretation easier. As the user reads the text, the
also announces the presence of links to other websites. And the user can
if he wishes, to have the computer read the whole text out loud.
The mouse's software has an "anchor" feature, to hold onto the line of text
is being read. Alternatively, a user can click a button on the mouse and the
will scroll along and run under his fingers without him having to move the
Click here to find out more!
When he encounters a graph, map or other such figure, the pins rise when the
is on a line. The number of pins raised reflects the thickness of the line.
he strays from the line, the pins fall. He is thus able to trace, say, the
of a graph or the border of a country. More complex diagrams can also be
Dark areas of maps, for example, can be represented by raising all the pins,
light areas are places where all the pins are dropped.
Not only is the tactile mouse more advanced than existing technologies for
people, it is also cheaper than existing Braille readers, which plug into a
and typically display 40 Braille characters at a time. The tactile mouse
$695, rather than $3,500-8,000 for a Braille reader.
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