Braille Printers on Reusable Thermoplastic Sheets

BRAPORT - CP96-113

Keywords: Braille printers, printer drivers, interface cards

Start Date: open / Duration: 36 months

[ participants / contact]

Objectivies and Approach

A usable prototype of a Braille printer on thermoplastic sheets (A4 size) will be developed. However, the main emphasis will be on long term research.

At the beginning of the project, the sheet material will be developed and optimised. By heating these sheets up to 40°C, mechanical embossing of Braille dots can be easily performed. After cooling, the Braille dots remain on the sheets and can be sensed by blind persons. Heating the sheets again to 40°C will remove all the previous Braille dots. This cycle can be repeated many times so that these sheets are reusable.

Such a sheet can also be used as a computer "screen" for blind persons. INSERM, Lille, will be responsible for the chemical and mechanical development of the sheets.

The Technical University of Lodz in Poland will be responsible for the electronic control circuits needed. This work involves software (printer drivers, etc.) and hardware (interface cards between PC, printer, etc.). They will also provide the mechanical construction of a usable prototype.

The Technical University of Cluj will undertake the thermal simulations of the temperature distribution. Moreover, they will be responsible for the software development of the representation of simple graphics (for example from mathematical school books) on a Braille sheet.

Progress and Results

Contacts will be made with schools and institutions for blind people in all the participating countries. Blind people will evaluate the quality of the results.


University of Gent-RUG, B

EU Partners

University of Gent-RUG, B

Non-EU Partners

Technical University, Lodz, PL
Technical University, Cluj, RO


Prof. Gilbert De Mey
Tel: +32 9 264 35 94
Fax: +32 9 264 35 94

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BRAPORT - CP96-113, May 1997

please address enquiries to the ESPRIT Information Desk

html version of synopsis by Nick Cook