NEW GRAPHICAL COMMUNICATION TACTILE SENSORS TO ASSIST INDIVIDUALS HAVING VISUAL DISABILITIES

Award Information
Agency: Department of Education
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 18822
Amount: $215,996.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1993
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Po Box 3406, Radford, VA, 24143
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Dr Russell J Churchill
 President
 () -
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
ONE OF THE MAJOR OBSTACLES TO EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT OF INDIVIDUALS WITH SEVERE VISUAL DISABILITIES IS THE INABILITY TO ACCESS VISUAL IMAGES FOUND IN THE EDUCATIONAL SETTING OR REQUIRED FOR SATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE IN THE WORKPLACE. EFFORTS TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO VISUAL IMAGES HAVE INCLUDED TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS SUCH AS COMPUTER-BASED BRAILLE PRINTERS, TACTILE BRAILLE DISPLAYS AND RAISED-RELIEF IMAGE FORMATION. NO DEVICE IS PRESENTLY AVAILABLE FOR REAL-TIME CONVERSION OF COMPUTER DISPLAY OUTPUT OR CAMERA OUTPUT TO TACTILE IMAGES. TO ADDRESS THIS SITUATION, THIS PROPOSAL SUGGESTS THE DEVELOPMENT OF A REAL-TIME REFRESHABLE TACTILE DISPLAY. THE WORK IS INNOVATIVE BY COMBINING PIEZO-ELECTRIC ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGIES WITH COMPUTER-GENERATED DISPLAYS TO PROVIDE A TACTILE DISPLAY HAVING A LARGER NUMBER OF PIXELS AND HIGHER PIXEL DENSITY THAN STANDARD CANTILEVER ACTUATORS. THE PHASE I TECHNICAL OBJECTIVES INCLUDE THE DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF A PIEZO-ELECTRIC ACTUATOR ARRAY, DEVELOPMENT OF ELECTRONIC DRIVING CIRCUITRY, EVALUATION OF THE TACTILE RESPONSE OF INDIVIDUALS TO SIMPLE SHAPES, AND OPTIMIZATION OF AN ENGINEERING MODEL OF THE TACTILE IMAGE DISPLAY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND EXTENSIVE TESTING IN THE PHASE II PROGRAM. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS ITS PROVISION OF TACTILE ACCESS TO COMPUTER SCREEN INFORMATION FOR USE BY INDIVIDUALS WITH VISUAL DISABILITIES.

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

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