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RoboBraille produces automated touchy-feely output

  • By Paul Crichton
  • 13 Apr 07, 12:31 PM

We’re probably all familiar with Babel Fish, the entertaining if not altogether reliable automated tool that translates from one language to another. Well, now there is a new conversion system for Braille that looks to be far more accurate and just about as quick.

The system is called RoboBraille and has been developed by a consortium of organisations led by the Danish Centre for Visual Impairment, Synscenter Refsnæs. All you need to do is email a text file or word document to RoboBraille and it is returned in electronic Braille format to the sender within minutes. A file can even be translated into a variety of languages, including Danish and Italian. Content can also be turned into an audio file for users to listen to.

Once converted to electronic Braille, the document can be read by using a tactile display device connected to a computer. This device has a series of pins that move up and down to produce the Braille output.

The service is currently in beta testing and is free, and once it formally goes live next year, the consortium behind RoboBraille hope that there will still be no charge to individuals and non-commercial organisations.

I like this a lot. The ease and speed of the service makes it very attractive. There is no reason why Braille downloads of reports, white papers and so on shouldn’t become as common a feature on the web as PDF downloads.

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