CANUTE, The worlds first working refreshable multiline braille display
A talk from EMF 2016 by Russell Couper
On Friday August 5, 2016 at – in Stage B
CANUTE, an open source multi-line refreshable Braille display. The project has been developed using Bristol Hackspace as a base and workshop facility. We are a Not For Profit venture and are working on open sourcing the project because having an open source design and data protocol will open up the avenues to information and equipment it can link into and information it can display. Available displays are at best two lines, Canute will be 8 or 16 lines and affordable.
The blind community are currently poorly supported with literature as very little is transferred to bulky Braille paper format and this has an impact on literacy and employment and access to modern communication. So much information is displayed 'on the screen' and Text-To-Speech is not always convenient (and is often inconvenient) and is a very different experience to reading. We aim to reverse this with CANUTE which will be the world's first electronic multi-line refreshable Braille display. It will be an entirely new class of affordable device to bring Braille to people who would otherwise be unable to afford anything other than massive, bulky hard copy Braille from a very limited source.
After 4 years of development on gifted and sponsored budgets in the corner of a Hackspace using Chinese motors and gears from ebay, lasercut parts and 3D printed widgets crammed into a fat laptop sized box, with an Arduino brain and Raspberry Pi book library we have made a working prototype that can display an entire page of Braille.
Unfortunately there is no machine available to demonstrate.