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$10 Hand-Held Braille Writer

By: Jeremy Gutsche - Published: Aug 1, 2006 • References: jhu.edu and ohgizmo
A group of university students at Johns Hopkins University has created a hand-held braille writer made from inexpensive mechanical parts. The device is expected to cost as low as $10.

From Johns Hopkins University:
To help provide a low-cost communication tool for blind people, undergraduates at The Johns Hopkins University have invented a lightweight, portable Braille writing device that requires no electronic components.

For a class called Engineering Design Project, four mechanical engineering majors were asked to produce such an instrument that would cost less than $50 each. The more sophisticated and generally more cumbersome typewriter-style or computer-based Braille writers available to blind people typically cost much more.

At the end of a two-semester research, design and testing process, the student inventors came in well below the target price. They estimated that their Braille writer, if mass-produced, would cost about $10 each in an easy-to-assemble kit. The team members recently presented their prototype to the project's sponsor, the Baltimore- based National Federation of the Blind.