Students developing low-cost, portable Braille printer

September 29, 2014 12:35 am | Updated 12:35 am IST - KADAPA:

Students display a prototype of the Braille printer that would only cost asmuch as an average Android mobile phone.

Students display a prototype of the Braille printer that would only cost asmuch as an average Android mobile phone.

In a bid to make technology affordable and accessible to visually-impaired persons, Sandeep Konam, a B. Tech. final-year ECE student at IIIT, Idupulapaya, and a group of IITians are engaged in not only developing a low-cost portable Braille printer that could cost as much as an average Android mobile but also in integrating graphics, tables and images in Indian languages.

Mr. Konam and other B. Tech. students — P. Laksh Kumar, V. Shakti Priyan, Ayushman Talwar, Amera Ali, Aparna Hariharan, Sai Revanth Tadepalli, Syed Junaid Ahmed and Rohith Sirpa — from diverse branches such as design, electronics, mechanical and computer science from IITs and NITs across India, demonstrated a prototype at a workshop titled “ReDx: Engineering the Eye” at Hyderabad recently. A portable working model of a Braille printer was expected to be optimised by December this year, Mr. Konam said.

Mentored by Elliott J. Rouse, Post-Doctoral Associate of Biomechatronics Group, MIT Media Lab, and assisted by premier institutions such as L.V. Prasad Eye Institute Innovation Centre, Cyient (formerly Infosys) and the Tata Centre for Technology and Design, the low-cost Braille printer, a counterpart to ink printers, using solenoids to control the embossing pins, could revolutionise the facility for the visually impaired and persons with a low vision. “Developing a prototype that can be used in open source community and qualitative enough to meet the needs of visually-impaired persons is our goal,” says Mr. Konam. “We have hacked a vinyl cutter and reverse-engineered it for usability as Braille printer.”

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