Specialists from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (Switzerland) have developed a touchscreen tablet without a screen, with which the visually impaired can navigate in unfamiliar places.
The tablet measures 12 x 15 cm. On its surface are 192 tiny buttons that move up and down in a few milliseconds to form maps of buildings, streets or shopping centers like a Braille display.
The principle of operation of the gadget is quite simple. Under each button is a small magnet located between two coils and two thin steel sheets. Moving up and down is provided by a local magnetic field when the current moves along one of the coils for 5 milliseconds.
When forming a certain configuration, the buttons are fixed in the upper position, attaching to one of the two steel plates. At the same time, no power is required to fix the button. The tablet is also equipped with Bluetooth so that it can be connected to computers and tablets. One of the project leaders, Herbert Shea, spoke about the advantages of the gadget:
“Visually impaired people can read information from the panel and immediately detect the specified object with a cane. Our affordable tablet provides real-time graphics so the user can see for himself. It can also be used in geometry lessons in schools for visually impaired children. "