[nfbwatlk] Fw: [Nfb-announce] Open Source Braille Display -- IndieGoGo

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Thu Dec 29 21:19:14 CST 2011

An excellent scheme to part potential investors from their money. Or,
perhaps, a well-meaning light-dependent person who doesn't know he's
re-inventing a broken wheel.


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Lauren Merryfield
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2011 6:47 PM
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Fw: [Nfb-announce] Open Source Braille Display --

advice from my cats: "meow when you feel like it."
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." ~
Albert Schweitzer
My new book, "there's more than one way to love a cat," is available at 
Visit us at catliness.com
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Andrews" <dandrews at visi.com>
To: <david.andrews at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2011 12:03 PM
Subject: [Nfb-announce] Open Source Braille Display -- IndieGoGo

Subject: Open Source Braille Display -- IndieGoGo


The Story

This project started earlier this year when I
read a local author's book of life as a Blind
person. After contacting him, I decided I could best help by
designing a simple device to make low-cost
Braille display from a computer possible.

So Will It Change the World?

I hope so - or I wouldn't be working on it!

Braille is to the Blind as the written word is to
us sighted folk - and so Braille literacy is
vitally important. Yet according to Wikipedia, while in 1960
half of blind American schoolchildren could read
Braille, in 2007, that number had dropped to one
in ten. To improve literacy, we need to make available
more ways to access and learn Braille - and an
important one is a tool to allow the Blind to
read the vast amounts of information on the Internet.

For many years, Braille readers have done just
that. A Braille reader takes computer text and
turns it into tactile impressions of Braille characters for
the blind to 'read'. However, these devices are
expensive - thousands of dollars - and so few can
afford them. The goal of this project is to make an Open
Source/Open Hardware Braille reader: simpler,
easy to build, well documented, and inexpensive,
so people anywhere can make it themselves (or get it made

But there's a second goal: to get people doing
more. This design is meant to be simple and cheap
to build. My hope is other, smarter people will step in
and build better, faster, and more powerful
devices. But nobody is doing it now, and so
someone has to start the ball rolling.

With your help, this will be that ball...

What You Can Do

The goal is to get from the current first
prototype to a finished design for a 40-character
Braille display, complete with software, and all the details
people need to build it, placed online. To that
end, here's some of the things needed:
list of 4 items
. Small CNC machine (build or buy), to do faster
turnaround of prototype parts.
. Purchase a selection of stepper motors and
driver boards, to test different
price/performance ratios for the Braille display design.
. Get a low-cost netbook to prototype the exact
software to run a device (netbook rather than a
full computer so as to test the device in the most likely
'real world' situation).
. Materials! Prototypes use up a lot of material,
as a part can get tweaked many times, each time requiring a new piece cut 
list end

Make no mistake - the project IS going ahead,
whether a little or a lot of money comes in - the
difference is just the speed things happen! So when this
project is out there making the difference I hope
it will, ask yourself how good it will feel to
say 'I helped with that' - and please contribute!

Any level is appreciated, and there's some 'thank
yous' listed on the right side of this page to show appreciate for your aid.

Progress will be discussed on my blog,
and designs will be made available there as they
are finished. All code and design will also be
made available for download, allowing people to make or
modify these products.

What (Else) You Can Do

Tell the world - the more people that know of
this project, the greater impact we can make.
Blog about it, tweet away, link to it, talk about it at work.
And please share this information with everyone and anyone.

Thank You.

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