New device for visionless users: accessible and portable keyboard
11 Mar '16
The article was written by an ITMO University staff and first published on the ITMO website.
Maksim Dadochkin, a PhD student at the ITMO University’s chair of mechatronics in St. Petersburg, together with his colleague developed a prototype of a keyboard for partially sighted and visionless people. Developers spent only two months to invent a portable communication device, which made the Internet accessible for everyone.
According to Mr. Dadochkin, most of the devices currently available in the market cost several thousand dollars as they use piezoelectric elements, and are therefore prohibitive for many partially sighted customers. Unfortunately cheaper prototypes are not widespread nowadays.
“Thanks to the Braille script users can communicate in the Internet and acquire information. Although these devices don`t provide all forms of interaction and services, they enable work with a text. However, such devices are not affordable for everyone; this inspired us to develop an alternative one,” said Maksim Dadochkin.
The prototype consists of a box with ten buttons (five on one side and five on the other) that generate symbols consecutively. They also manage cursor moving, symbol deleting, entry approval and a switch as well. The design is ergonomic: the buttons are placed to match finger positioning. The prototype weighs about one kilogram. Each button is equipped with a vibratory sensor, which warns about an error. Having entered a symbol one should approve the input. If required, a user can also record information to use it later.
Currently Mr. Dadochkin plans to improve his invention using his own money. However, after a series of tests he is going to seek investors.
“We want to give the visionless and partially sighted the opportunity to use the Internet. Our target is to make such common things as email or social networks` chatting accessible for them,” the inventor pointed out.
Oleg Kouzbit, managing editor: “I’m glad you join us here and take The Bridge walk for Marchmont’s weekly review of the Russian regions’ innovative present and future. Stay close and you’ll find out more of how Russia is bridging the existing gap between its researchers and businesses.”