STTR Phase I: Bistable Electroactive Polymers for Refreshable Braille Displays
This Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I project aims to develop a refreshable Braille display for the blind. Existing Braille technologies require complicated mechanical designs that are bulky and too expensive for personal use. A new technology based on a new smart material (bistable electroactive polymer) will be developed to enable a Braille dot array on a thin flat panel. The project will further the material development of this polymer, develop low-cost processing and patterning of Braille cells, and design the driving circuitry and control software. Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles will collaborate on the project, leading further development of the smart material to obtain high actuation performance and durability.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be the availability of low-cost, lightweight refreshable Braille displays. The new Braille displays will significantly increase literacy in the blind population, particularly for children. Users will be able to communicate instantly with their teachers and peers through text messaging. The low fabrication cost will make the displays accessible to a larger portion of the 314 million people worldwide that suffer from vision impairment. The underlying technology can also be adapted to provide solutions for public access for the vision impaired. The projected market is on the order of hundred millions of dollars and could create hundreds of jobs. The project will also lead to better basic understanding of the new smart material and to new engineering designs for functional transducers with large commercial potential.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
4397 Park Monte Nord Calabasas, CA 91302
Number of Employees:
University of California-Los Angeles
11000 Kinross Avenue
LOS ANGELES, CA 90095