ELIA Tactile Label Maker

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43AG034739-01
Agency Tracking Number: AG034739
Amount: $288,131.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2009-2
Small Business Information
ELIA LIFE TECHNOLOGY, INC.
ELIA LIFE TECHNOLOGY, INC., 354 E 66TH ST, STE4A, NEW YORK, NY, 10021
DUNS: 194720327
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 ANDREW CHEPAITIS
 (212) 327-2550
 AJCHEP@EARTHLINK.NET
Business Contact
 ANDREW CHEPAITIS
Phone: (212) 327-2550
Email: ajchep@earthlink.net
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This is a Phase II proposal to develop a tactile text production device that will support multiple tactile alphabets (e.g., Elia, Braille, Roman), multiple font sizes, label production, and graphics to benefit: the more than 1.8 million severely visually impaired and 6.0 million low-vision Americans who cannot read standard Braille, the 59,000 Braille readers who would benefit from greater tactile text production capabilities, including graphics, and sighted consumers who interact with blind and visually impaired people, but require visual print output. Increased flexibility in tactile text production will enable the blind and visually impaired to label and identify items required for their activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), and access printed text and graphics. These abilities will enable blind and visually impaired people to achieve greater independence, and increased opportunities for employment and leisure activities. The current tactile labeling methods recommended for the blind use household, hardware, and arts and crafts materials [3]. The tactile labeling methods for distinguishing objects typically include varying the number or placement of rubber bands, dots made of glue, felt, nail polish, strands of yarn, safety pins, magnets, pieces of tape, or other common materials. To print tactile graphical information, the visually impaired either: 1) utilize technology that is expensive on both a fixed unit and variable per page basis, or 2) they cobble together awkward solutions using pre-computer technology (e.g., electroforming, thermoforming, manual embossing, vacuum forming), each of which is cumbersome, unreliable or not suited for the consumer market. Current tactile printing and labeling products are designed primarily for the limited population of Braille users and produce only standard size Braille text. What is needed to better address the needs of the entire blind and visually impaired population are tactile text production products that support other tactile alphabets (e.g., Roman, ELIA), multiple font sizes, label production, and graphics. Much of this population has residual vision and would also benefit from combined tactile/visual printing abilities. These features need to be offered in a product that is both user-friendly and inexpensive. The company's proposed tactile text production technologies will address these product needs, offering a solution to the limitations in current products. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This research will develop tactile label making and printing technologies for the blind. Increased flexibility in tactile text production will enable the blind and visually impaired to label and identify items required for their activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (ALDs), and access printed text and graphics. These abilities will enable blind and visually impaired people to achieve greater independence, and increased opportunities for employment and leisure activities. A main concern rests with the fact that a lot of the technology the investigators are proposing to integrate already exists. Certainly, this allows for much more efficient use of time in terms of developing the end product (rather than coming up with their own solutions), but it raises concerns in terms of intellectual property, sourcing appropriate equipment suppliers, and reverse engineering materials as needed. The investigators are aware of this issue regarding potential IP violations and the risk of using components that may not be available down the road or too cost prohibitive. However, it is not clear where they will stand by going down this path in the long-term.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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