The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT Delhi) has come up with India’s first Braille laptop, DotBook.
The laptop that has been created exclusively for the visually challenged people is affordable and has a refreshable Braille display.
It will facilitate social inclusion and equality for the visually impaired in education and employment.
The DotBook is expected to be open for bookings starting March this year while the product deliveries would start later this year.
The First Braille Laptop, DotBook
Our vision with the DotBook has been to enable VI persons to compete and succeed independently in an office or educational environment.
– Professor M Balakrishnan, Head of the project
According to the researchers, this device would help approximately 1.3 crore people, reported the Times of India.
Therefore, the laptop has all the applications and features to enable a VI User to easily and independently work.
These features include e-mail, calculator and web browser.
Moreover, DotBook has two types of variants-
- DotBook 20P:20-Cell Braille Variant with Perkins Keys
- DotBook 40Q:40-Cell Braille Variant with QWERTY Keyboard.
Unique features like eight hours of battery life and refreshable Braille display make the DotBook Braille Laptop as the standalone device that can read, write, listen, browse and edit information.
It can also be connected to computers, laptops and other devices through cable, data card, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The head of the project further stated that it is a perfect example of user oriented applied research. It is inter-disciplinary in nature as it brings together advanced techniques in mechanical, low power electronics, software and UI design together.
The Refreshable Braille Display
The Refreshable Braille display will create an independent access to digital content for the visually impaired.
It can show up to 80 characters from the screen and can change continuously if the user moves the cursor around on the screen, using either command keys or cursor routing keys or Windows and screen reader commands.
Affordable And Easily Accessible
At present, 40 cell Refreshable Braille Devices cost Rs 1 lakh but DotBook laptop has been built on IIT Delhi’s patented Shape Memory Alloy Technology which will reduce the cost by almost 60%, stated Professor M Balakrishnan, Head of the project.
The Braille laptop will be easily accessible to the millions of people.
According to him, the device becomes very significant as low income countries contribute to over 90% of the world’s visually impaired population.
The developers expect to have 1 lakh users by the end of 2021.
Developing The DotBook
The DotBook is a result of sustained efforts of over 5 years.
The study and experimentation for developing the laptop was conducted at more than 10 sites. During this period, it was used by more than 200 users, said The Times of India.
The first braille laptop has been developed by the researchers from IIT Delhi, KritiKal Solutions Pvt Ltd., Pheonix Medical Systems Pvt. Ltd. and Saksham Trust New Delhi, supported by the Wellcome Trust.
(Note – All the photos are courtesy the official Twitter handle of IIT-Delhi.)