IIT researchers develop Braille laptop for visually impaired

IIT researchers develop Braille laptop for visually impaired

New Delhi 9th
March: Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi have developed
a Braille laptop called DotBook, which can be useful for the visually impaired.

The laptop
has got important conventional applications such as email, calculator, and web
browser. Third party apps can also be added in case needed.

Braille laptop launched
in two variants

It has been
launched in two variants called 40Q and 20P. The 40Q variant can have 40
characters per line and features a conventional QWERTY keyboard and a Braille
keyboard, while 20P can have 20 characters in a line and has only a Braille
keyboard. The laptops are equipped with refreshable Braille display.

The laptop
was developed on the basis of multiple user trials to take care of preferences
and needs of the user community. Among other things, it has a specially designed
hand-rest to help the users to work for long hours without any drop in efficiency.
The equipment can be connected through wifi, Bluetooth and USB. 

The project leader, Prof M. Balakrishnan, said,

DotBook represents an excellent example
of user oriented applied research. it is inter-disciplinary in nature which
brings advanced techniques, low power electronics, software and User interface
design together.
It is a result of sustained efforts over four years of a multi-organizational
team comprising academics, two industry partners and a user organization.”

IIT-Delhi researchers
have developed the laptop in collaboration with KritiKal Solutions Pvt
Ltd., Noida, Pheonix
Medical Systems Pvt. Ltd., Chennai, Saksham Trust, New Delhi and Wellcome Trust of UK. KritiKal
will manufacture,
maintain and market them. Phoenix Medical Systems will provide the modules for refreshable
Braille display.

Cost of DotBook built on IIT Delhi

Currently, comparable 40 cell Refreshable
Braille Devices cost on an average Rs. 1.78 lakh making them expensive for
users even in high-income countries while being completely unaffordable for
those in countries like India.

Health news

“The DotBook built on IIT Delhi’s
patented Shape Memory Alloy Technology will bring this cost down to Rs. 60,000
for 40Q and Rs. 40,000 for 20P variant. This will help make Braille laptop
accessible to the millions who were previously un-catered-to”, said Pulkit
Sapra, IIT researcher.

Dipendra Manocha,
Managing Director, Saksham Trust, said, ” DotBook opens up digital life to
Braille users. It creates an eco-system that allows people who read and write
in Braille, to communicate seamlessly with the rest of the world.”

The DotBook is slated to be opened for
bookings starting March, 2019. Product deliveries would start later this year.

By Umashankar Mishra

(India Science Wire)