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  • Chris McMillan

Dot Pad tactile display makes images touchable for visually impaired users

Tech Crunch

10th March 2022

Dot Pad tactile display makes images touchable for visually impaired users

Braille is widely used by people with vision impairments, but despite widespread improvements to accessibility on the web and smart devices, innovation for braille-reader hardware has essentially been stalled. Dot has taken a huge step forward with a smart braille device that not only allows for easy display of text, but tactile representations of imagery, potentially opening an entirely new layer for education and accessible content.

The Dot Pad consists of 2,400 pins in a pixel-like grid that can quickly be set to be in up or down positions, forming letters in braille or easily identifiable shapes. That’s room for 300 braille glyphs, plus 20 more in a more traditionally spaced line below. Crucially, the device also integrates directly into Apple’s VoiceOver screen reading feature, making reading text, icon labels and even graphs or simple images just a tap away.

The company, based in Korea, was formed when co-founders Ki Kwang Sung and Eric Ju Yoon Kim found themselves fed up with the lack of options for learning and reading despite so many other advances in computing and interfaces.

This isn’t the first digital braille display by a long shot — devices like this have existed for decades, but they’ve been decidedly limited in both quantity and capability. Most commonly you’ll find braille displays for reading and typing digital text, but these are often comparatively clunky one-line machines that haven’t fundamentally changed in many years.

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