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EASY-BRAILLE - Electrothermal Actuator System for bistable hybrid Braille area displays

The miniaturisation of the computer has made it possible for people to gain access to a very large amount of data at any time, and to use these data. However, almost 285 million people worldwide are largely unable to benefit from this development due to impairment of their vision, with 39 million being fully blind while 246 million have severely restricted vision. More complex data, such as graphics or tables, so far cannot be fully reproduced. Thus there is a need for large-area tactile systems which are able to translate graphics into the grid of the Braille code, and which have a flat, compact construction and require low electric power to operate.The aim of this project is to research a completely new design for a Braille area display. The Braille display drives work in a bistable mode. Integrated into a large Braille display area are horizontally active in-plane actuators, which, for the taxel to be lifted, insert an in-plane actuator as a spacer between the Braille pin and a lifting actuator during a programming phase. The programming is done while the out-of-plane actuator is in a lowered position. After the programming, the out-of-plane actuator becomes inactive, so that the retracting spring lifts the pins. In an upper actuator configuration electrothermal in-plane actuators are placed in two layers. In a second (lower) actuator layer flexibly mounted plunger coil actuators are arranged which allow a vertical movement of the lifting pins. Because the miniaturisation of plunger coil actuators is limited for technical reasons, it is planned for one plunger coil actuator to lift and lower several lifting pins (e.g. 16 pins) simultaneously. In this project the potentials and limits of two different cooperating actuator systems with diverse spatial resolution will be investigated.  

Professor Dr.-Ing. Helmut F. Schlaak

Technische Universität Darmstadt
Fachbereich 18: Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik
Fachgebiet Mikrotechnik und Elektromechanische Systeme (M+EMS)

Telefon: +49 6151 1623851
Telefax: +49 6151 1623852

E-Mail: schlaak does-not-exist.emk tu-darmstadt de