MEMS Valves for Tactile Braille Text and Display

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R44EY016637-02
Agency Tracking Number: EY016637
Amount: $1,557,350.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2007-2
Small Business Information
DUNS: 557510336
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 () -
Business Contact
Phone: (216) 649-0399
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Orbital Research is attempting to overcome the astronomical rates of functional illiteracy (inability to read) and unemployment among blind individuals by using a novel technology to produce affordable Braille products. Under this program Orbital is developing a tactile graphical display that will enable blind people to access verbal and non-verbal content on personal computers, PDAs, and the like. This capability will enable learning opportunities that more closely rese mble the breadth of modalities available to the sighted community. The developments proposed here extend technology that has been developed by Orbital Research under separate programs. The basis of the technology is a pneumatic system, controlled by microv alves in a continuous array. The completed device will be less expensive and more robust than currently available technology. The feasibility of each of the components has been demonstrated in the Phase I program. During this proposed Phase II the componen ts will be integrated and tested both in the lab and through user evaluations. The outcome of the program will be several demonstration units with display areas of 40 square inches. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The blind population in the United States suffers from an illiteracy rate of over 80% and an unemployment rate of 68%; though 90% of employed blind people are Braille literate. This crisis can be overcome through greater accessibility of Braille technology, facilitated by affordable devices. Orbital Rese arch will commercialize a low cost graphical Braille display that will achieve this end, eventually improving literacy rates and employment opportunities.

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

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government