Description:

Institute reference: INV-23064

Short Summary

A graphical display for visually impaired students using linear actuators and tactile elements to plot equations and data.

Background

Graphical representations of data are crucial for understanding and interpreting information in various domains, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). However, it is challenging for visually impaired individuals to access and meaningfully interact with these graphical displays, which hinders their ability to participate fully in educational settings and professional activities that involve graphical data. Current approaches to assistive devices for visually impaired/blind people, such as actuating pin arrays or embossed graphs, have limitations in terms of complexity, resolution, and affordability. These technologies can be difficult to assemble and maintain, and may not provide the required level of detail or clarity that visually impaired users need to understand and engage with graphical information effectively.

Description

This technology is a graphical display specifically designed for blind people/people with limited light perception. It uses 10 linear stage actuators with attached tactile elements to effectively plot equations and input x-,y- data. Visually impaired users can then feel along each tactile element to view the plot, allowing them to understand the graphical representation of the data. Unlike other assistive devices that rely on an array of actuating pins, this device employs a simplified mechanism, making it easier to assemble while still providing effective graphical resolution. This design is especially suitable for K-12 students and helps to reduce the overall manufacturing costs of the product.

Benefits: 

  • Provides an accessible graphical display for visually impaired users
  • Simplified mechanism for easier assembly
  • Effective graphical resolution for K-12 students
  • Lower manufacturing costs compared to alternative devices (targeting <$1,000 retail)
  • Encourages inclusive learning and working environments

Applications:

  • STEM education for visually impaired K-12 students
  • Visualization tools for visually impaired professionals in data-heavy industries
  • Accessibility solutions for educational institutes and workplaces that require graphical representations
  • Inclusive visualization tools for museums and exhibitions
  • Graphical data aids for visually impaired researchers
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
m.saulich@northeastern.edu
Inventors:
Gabriel Katz
Nicholas Guidoboni
Andres Marquez
EVAN ALEXANDER
Mona Minkara
Bridget Smyser
Keywords:
Accessibility
Biotech
Data
Devices
Graphical Display
Mathematics
Robotics
Tactile Interface
Visual impairments