ELIA Tactile Label Maker
Small Business Information
ELIA LIFE TECHNOLOGY, INC., 354 E 66TH ST, STE4A, NEW YORK, NY, 10021
AbstractDESCRIPTION (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 mo re 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 consum ers 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 livin g (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 activ ities. The current tactile labeling methods recommended for the blind use household, hardware, and arts and crafts materials . The tactile labeling methods for distinguishing objects typically include varying the number or placement of rubber bands, dot s 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 vari able 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 tacti le 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. T hese 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 HEALT H 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 lei sure 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 t han 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 viola tions 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.