STTR Phase I: Bistable Electroactive Polymers for Refreshable Braille Displays

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1010074
Agency Tracking Number: 1010074
Amount: $149,985.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: MM
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-605
Small Business Information
4397 Park Monte Nord, Calabasas, CA, 91302
DUNS: 808983840
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Wei Yuan
 (310) 850-0403
Business Contact
 Wei Yuan
Title: DPhil
Phone: (310) 850-0403
Research Institution
 University of California-Los Angeles
 Qibing Pei
 11000 Kinross Avenue
 (310) 825-4217
 Nonprofit college or university
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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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