New APH Partnership with HumanWare Leads to Creation of Dynamic Tactile Device

Source: American Printing House for the Blind

American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is pleased to announce the development of a multiline braille tactile reader that aims to revolutionize braille technology for the visually impaired. The device, that combines tactile images and braille, is being created through a partnership with HumanWare, a leader in the field of access technology with a 30-year history of creating products for people who are blind or visually impaired. The device will utilize APH’s and HumanWare’s vast experience in the development of educational products.

“Back in 2017, we introduced our plans for the Graphiti, a dynamic, multi-level tactile display. This was around the time of the solar eclipse that year and Graphiti allowed people who are visually impaired to touch the sun with their hands by using the device,” said Anne Durham, Vice President, Chief Officer, Innovation and Strategy. “Through that development process, we learned that we can, and must, do even more. This new dynamic braille device is a braille revolution that puts information in the hands of people who are blind or visually impaired.”

The innovative device, which has been in the works since 2020, will eliminate one of the biggest barriers to equality in the classroom, easy and timely access to textbooks for students who are blind or have low vision. Currently, textbooks can take months, or even years, to be transcribed and embossed, resulting in students sometimes not having access to needed educational tools at the start of a class. The multiline braille tactile reader will address textbook access issues by combining the ability to display tactile graphics, as well as serving as a tactile book reader, thereby changing the way students read books and reducing time to get books to students’ fingertips. 

“This device will not only change how students access educational texts; it will also reshape the tech industry. A device that lets students feel tactile images and read braille at the same time opens up a new world we’ve never seen before,” said Craig Meador, Ed.D, APH President. “To be able to bring this to the public will eliminate barriers of access and is sure to set the standard for many years to come.”

APH’s partnership with HumanWare is unique, as they are equal investors in the development of the device. APH and HumanWare have partnered on previous projects including the Braille Trail Reader LE, Chameleon 20, Mantis Q40, MATT Connect, and PageBlaster.

“This is an incredible opportunity to change the educational experience around the world for blind students and we have created a strong industry partnership bringing together APH’s comprehensive educational market knowledge, HumanWare’s leading-edge product development capability, and DOT Technology’s revolutionary braille cell design,” said Bruce Miles, HumanWare President.

APH is incredibly excited about this endeavor and knows there is much work to be done. The process for this revolutionary tool and journey to completion will welcome support from those in the entire field.

“This has been the dream of many in the industry for the past 40 years,” says Gilles Pepin, HumanWare CEO. “We believe we now have the technologies to build this product and we are pleased to be embarking on this journey to design and develop the Dynamic Tactile Device.”

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