updated 03:50 pm EDT, Fri May 16, 2008
NHK shows Braille display
Friday reports have the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) coming out with a prototype of a haptic display with a touch panel function that would allow the visually impaired to control a device or browse the Internet using Braille. Unlike haptic interfaces in mobile devices, which simply mimic the feel of pressing a button with a vibration or other tactile method, the display would produce a series of protrusions and recesses formed by small pins integrated into the display.
The technology aims to allow visually impaired users to select what is basically a Braille button, or read multiple lines in Braille, allowing for navigation. The 'virtual' button presses would also trigger audio guidance to help users navigate.
The project, dubbed Multimedia Browsing Technology for the Visually Impaired, was developed by NHK in partnership with Tokyo University, and commissioned by Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.
NHK is planning to unveil the display next week, at the NHK Science & Technical Research Laboratories Open House 2008, which kicks off on May 22. [via Techon]