Arif, Shahab (2013) Electronic Braille Document Reader. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

An investigation was conducted into developing a portable Braille device which would allow visually impaired individuals to read electronic documents by actuating Braille text on a finger. Braille books tend to be bulky in size due to the minimum size requirements for each Braille cell. E-books can be read in Braille using refreshable Braille displays connected to a computer. However, the refreshable Braille displays are expensive, bulky and are not portable. These factors restrict blind and visually impaired individuals from accessing much of the literature which isn’t available in Braille.

The proposed device overcomes the problem of carrying bulky Braille books by allowing multiple e-books to be saved in a portable memory device. By convert text from Latin characters into Braille patterns, it will give the blind access to books which were never published in Braille. The single Braille cell design reduces the bulk of the device allowing it to be portable and reducing the cost. An additional benefit of the device is that it can be integrated into a glove and worn thus giving the user freedom to carry on with other tasks while reading.

A prototype was developed to prove Braille could be read by actuating Braille characters on a finger. The device read text from an SD card, translated it into Braille characters and actuated the Braille pattern. Blind volunteers proficient in Braille reading were able to decipher the Braille text actuated on the finger after some practice.

The investigation confirmed the feasibility of the Electronic Braille document reader built around a microcontroller system translating text into Braille. It also proved the theory that Braille could be read from a single Braille cell by the patterns actuating on the finger instead of the finger sliding across an already formed Braille pattern. A portable Electronic Braille Document Reader promises provide substantial benefits to blind and visually impaired individuals, and overcome the limitations of Braille books.

Final_Thesis_-_June_2013.pdf - Accepted Version

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