IIT-Delhi develops India’s first Braille laptop for visually impaired

IIT-Delhi has developed India’s first Braille laptop named DotBook for visually impaired persons. This affordable device will help to provide equal opportunities for the visually impaired community.

The researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi have created India’s first Braille laptop for the visually- impaired. The laptop is named DotBook, and it has a feature-packed, affordable Braille display. The laptop comprises 10-cell refreshable Braille Cell modules.

How will the DotBook help in improving lives of visually impaired?

The DotBook is expected to create a positive impact for the visually impaired community as independent digital access has become a vital part of day-to-day living.

The laptop will help in solving issues such as social inclusion and creating equal opportunities in education and employment for the blind community.

DotBook is being launched in two variants:

DotBook 20P: 20-Cell Braille Variant with Perkins Keys

DotBook 40Q: 40-Cell Braille Variant with QWERTY Keyboard

Cost of the Braille laptop

The currently available 40-cell refreshable Braille Device costs USD 2500 on an average, which is unaffordable for people in countries like India.

DotBook is built on IIT Delhi’s patented Shape Memory Alloy Technology that helps bring this cost down by almost 60%, and thus helping make this device accessible to the millions who were previously un-catered-to.

This becomes very significant as low income countries contribute to over 90% of the world’s visually impaired population.

Vision behind creating the DotBook

The DotBook has been created to enable blind people to compete and succeed independently in an office or educational environment.

That is why the DotBook comes packed with all the applications and features that a visually impaired user would need to independently carry out their tasks with ease.

These features include Email, Calculator, Web Browser and comes with a QWERTY Keyboard.

Features of the Braille laptop

The device’s custom development is based on multiple user trials with many of the smallest needs and preferences being taken care of based on user feedback.

A good example being that – the hand-rest has also been ergonomically designed to enable long hours of use through the day.

According to Prof M. Balakrishnan, IIT Delhi, project-lead, “DotBook represents an excellent example of user oriented applied research. On one hand it is not only inter-disciplinary in nature as it brings together advanced techniques in mechanical, low power electronics, software and UI design together but is also a result of sustained efforts over four years of a multi-organizational team comprising academics, two industry partners and a user organization.”

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