[chuck-users] Multiline Braille display

rjc at mit.edu rjc at mit.edu
Thu Aug 25 13:07:00 EDT 2011

Hmm, the GWP is a very low-resolution graphics display, but you still need a 
braille display to read text, unless you'll use a speech synthesizer.
The dimensions of the graphics display are 24 by 16. A braille cell is 2x8, 
so you'd get 12 characters across by two lines down if you used all the pins 
for displaying text. Really not much better than a one line display.
However, if your desire is to be able to see pictures, this seems like a 
good start; one-line braille displays cannot do this at all.

We're getting there, just extremely slowly.  When a true full page (full 
screen) tactile display does become available, it will most likely not use 
mechanically driven pins. It will use some sort of dynamically deformable 
material. Mechanically driven pins are way too expensive to produce 
(especially since the thing will never be mass produced), and fail too 

-- Rich

-----Original Message----- 
From: tempjayren at gmail.com
Sent: Thursday, August 25, 2011 1:47 AM
To: ChucK Users Mailing List
Subject: Re: [chuck-users] Multiline Braille display

and as promised, here is the research i've done on the multiline stuff.
the first product is indeed multiline, the gwp one, this second one the
modular braille display, i'm not so sure about this, though i believe it is.

--- snip ---
Graphic Window Professional (GWP)
Graphic Window Professional - Click to enlarge.
Graphic Window Professional: $10,990.00.
View a picture of the Graphic Window Professional.
Access to Graphics for the Blind
The GWP enables the blind user to touch graphical information on the
Windows desktop. The graphics are converted into tactile pictures of 24
x 16 tactile pins. GWP uses image processing methods to extract the most
important information. The tactile graphics vary dynamically in
real-time according to the changes on the screen.
Explore the World of Graphics
With the GWP, blind users can touch graphical information on the screen.
An observation frame can be moved around the screen using arrow keys.
The zoom function enlarges the display up to the most detailed view in
which one tactile pin on the tactile display corresponds to a single
pixel on the screen. For better orientation on the Windows desktop, the
GWP provides an orientation mode where the position of the tactile
matrix is displayed relative to the desktop. Furthermore, it is equipped
with an overview mode to display the whole contents of the desktop. The
functions of the GWP can be controlled by 8 user-definable function keys
and a shift key. The tactile patterns are displayed by the GWP software
on the screen for visual assistance.
Using GWP in the Training Situation
Especially during training, the GWP can be an important tool to teach
the concept and layout of Windows. Abstract concepts of Windows such as
icons in the toolbar can now be touched. The active window can be
emphasized by a blinking border. Even real pictures can be touched with
the GWP. With the information density control, the display on the matrix
can be adjusted manually. At school, GWP opens up new ways of obtaining
more information, for example by displaying function graphs, geometrical
figures or boundaries of countries.
Using GWP in the Office
For professionals who need to be able to control the screen layout, GWP
introduces new advanced possibilities for the blind user. Now it is
possible to touch graphical results such as diagrams, for example
progress of stock value or cake slice diagrams. Even for word documents
and internet pages, the blind user can check and modify the layout
independently. Graphical information such as the volume control in a
record studio can be touched on the tactile display of the GWP.
GWP in Combination with Handy Tech Braille Displays
A Handy Tech Braille display with a GWP is the perfect combination for a
professional workplace. Information on the screen can be touched
simultaneously in Braille on the Braille display and with tactile
graphics on the GWP. For example, when the mouse pointer is located on
the printer icon, the GWP shows this icon as tactile graphics and the
Braille display shows the word "printer" in Braille. Just as on a
Braille display, the cursor position on the tactile display of the GWP
is shown as a blinking dot. It is possible to choose between permanent
and manual mouse tracking.
Navigation functions
With the arrow keys it is possible to shift the section of the screen
shown on the tactile display. Besides up and down, left and right, is
possible to navigate diagonally. The speed and the steps of the shifting
movement can be selected via the GWP software.
Zoom functions
With the zoom keys located directly on the tactile display, it is
possible to enlarge or reduce the section of the screen shown on the
tactile display of the GWP. The range of zooming the screen section
reaches from displaying the whole screen at once, down to the most
detailed view of one dot on the tactile display corresponding to exactly
one pixel on the screen. The zoom steps can be adjusted with the GWP
Orientation mode
When activated, the orientation mode displays the size and position of
the tactile display on the screen by a rectangle of blinking dots. It is
then possible to quickly locate the position of the tactile display on
the screen.
Overview mode
When using the overview mode, the whole screen is shown on the tactile
display of the GWP. The active window can be highlighted by a frame of
blinking tactile dots.
Adjusting the information density
The information density determines the brightness level of the graphical
information displayed on the tactile display, and is automatically
determined by the software. When touching graphics with low contrast, it
is possible to adjust the information density manually in 6 steps.
Tracking the positioning
When tracking the positioning of the mouse pointer is active, the GWP
tracks the position of the mouse on the screen. If this is also linked
to the position of the Braille display, the tactile display of the GWP
and the text in Braille on the Braille display are linked together.
Structure mode
In addition to the graphical information on the screen, Windows system
information is also interpreted by the GWP software when using the
structure mode. This makes it possible to highlight the active window by
blinking dots.
Technical Data
•16 x 24 dots tactile graphical display, matrix of equidistant (3mm)
tactile dots.
•2 zoom keys.
•Serial port.
•8 function keys.
•Shift key.
•Runs autonomously for 20 hours.
•Quick charging (3 hours).
•Dimensions: 4.3 inches x 3 inches x 8.3 inches (Width x Height x Length).
•Weight: 2.2 pounds.

Top of page
Modular Evolution
Modular Evolution - Click to enlarge.
Modular Evolution 64: $10,990.00.
Modular Evolution 88: $13,990.00.
View a picture of the Modular Evolution.
Ergonomics Meets Functionality
Modular Evolution is designed for the professional blind user in their
workplace. Adapted for your needs, Modular Evolution offers the perfect
combination for you.
Modular Braille Display
The Braille display unit of the Modular Evolution is available with 88
or 64 Braille cells. This Modular Braille display is the first one to
use the revolutionary Active Tactile Control (ATC) technology. ATC
offers Braille readers new and more efficient ways to use a PC. In
addition to ATC, the Modular Braille display offers the following
control elements:
•2 navigation keys (Left/Right), ergonomically placed across the whole
width of the Braille display.
•2 Triple Action keys, (Left/Right), integrated with the tactile area.
•8 function keys (B1 – B4, B5 – B8).
•88 or 64 cursor routing keys for placing the cursor at each Braille
The Modular Braille display offers three additional USB ports. This
allows you to directly connect a printer or scanner. With the 4 GB
internal memory, all the applications and data are always available to you.
Modular Keyboard
The Modular Keyboard of the Modular Evolution is a complete PC keyboard
which can be clipped onto the Braille display unit. The keyboard has
tactile markings for blind users. The keys are labeled with high
contrast (white on black) and can therefore be easily read by partially
sighted users.
Modular Braille Keyboard
With the Modular Braille Keyboard you can enter text in Braille. It also
offers complete control of the PC. In addition to the 8 ergonomic
Braille entry keys (P1 – P8), the Modular Braille keyboard has a number
pad as well as control and function keys.
Modular Number Pad
When clipped on to the Modular Evolution, the number pad offers
additional functions. The 16 keys of the Modular number pad can be
individually assigned. For example, as a telephone operator, you can use
the number pad directly for dialling or switchboard functions.
The One-Cable-Solution
All components of the Modular Evolution can be clipped on to the Modular
Braille display without the need for any annoying cables. When attached,
the components have an electrically and mechanically stable connection.
With just one cable the whole system of the Modular Evolution is
connected to the PC via USB. There is no need to have cables all over
your desk.
The New Dimension of Braille Reading Active Tactile Control (ATC)
The patent pending Active Tactile Control (ATC) enables you to control
the PC directly with your reading position on the Braille display. This
opens up a whole new world of controlling a PC for blind and visually
impaired users. With the help of ATC for example, words or letters can
be announced by the speech output. ATC even recognizes when the current
line has been read completely and automatically scrolls to the next line
without the need of pressing the reading keys. ATC is able to detect the
reading position reliably even if several fingers are on the Braille
ATC Assistance Functions
For professional use of a PC, ATC offers several helpful functions:
•Automatic Scrolling - When you have read the text on the Braille
display completely, ATC automatically scrolls to the next position.
•Speed Reading - A word is spoken when touching the first letter.
•Read the Whole Line - The line will be read completely triggered by a
touch on the Braille display.
•Spelling when Reading Backwards - When reading a Braille character
twice, it will be announced.
•Interactive Learning with ATC.
•Reading Single Characters - The letter at the reading position will be
either announced immediately or with delay.
•Read Word at the End - When the word has been read completely, it will
be announced. This function is especially handy when learning a foreign
•Analyzing the Reading Behavior - ATC allows you to monitor the handling
of the Modular Evolution. Analyzing the reading behavior is especially
helpful for the teaching environment while learning Braille.
ATC Settings
The various ATC options can be adjusted to your individual needs by
using the settings menu.
Perfect Ergonomics
Only the Handy Tech Braille cells have the concave and sloped down
shape. The tactile surface matches the finger tip perfectly while
reading. Judge for yourself - the advantages right at your fingertips
The Braille output of the Modular Evolution can be read with a natural
and relaxed hand position which is especially important for power users.
The cursor routing keys are integrated into the tactile surface, aiding
with orientation. The up and down keys are placed where you need them
when reading Braille.
Technical Data: Modular Braille Display 88
•88 Braille cells.
•684 (88*8) ATC sensors.
•2 navigation keys.
•2 Triple Action keys.
•88 cursor routing keys.
•8 function keys B1 - B8.
•3 USB connections.
•4 GB internal memory.
•Dimensions: 25.3 inches x 2.4 inches x 10.4 inches (Width x Height x
•Weight: 7.7 pounds.
Technical Data: Modular Braille Display 64
•64 Braille cells.
•512 (64*8) ATC sensors.
•2 navigation keys.
•2 Triple Action keys.
•64 cursor routing keys.
•8 function keys B1 - B8.
•3 USB connectors.
•4 GB internal memory.
•Dimensions: 20.3 inches x 2.4 inches x 10.4 inches (Width x Height x
•Weight: 6.4 pounds.
Technical Data: Modular Keyboard
•105 keys.
•Tactile markings.
•USB connection.
•Dimensions: 20.3 inches x 1.7 inches x 6.8 inches (Width x Height x
•Weight: 2.2 pounds.
Technical Data: Modular Braille Keyboard
•8 Braille keys (P1 –P8).
•2 space keys.
•Function keys F1 – F12, Escape key, Numlog, ScrLog, Print.
•Ctrl, Shift, Alt, Windows keys.
•6 keys block, cursor keys.
•Number pad 17 keys.
•Dimensions: 9.8 inches x 1.8 inches x 6.5 inches (Width x Height x Depth).
•Weight: 2.2 pounds.
Technical Data: Modular Number Pad
•16 keys B9 – B14, 0 – 9.
•Dimensions: 5 inches x 1.7 inches x 6.8 inches (Width x Height x Depth).
•Weight: 2 pounds.

--- snip ---
On 8/25/2011 12:29 AM, Rich Caloggero wrote:
> I think forcing indentation on someone (ala Python) is just wrong. This
> is unfortunate, since python seems like a very powerful language. You
> can get the screen reader to read out indentation (3 spaces, 5 spaces,
> etc), and I'm sure there are many blind folks out there who enjoy coding
> in Python, but I really wish indentation was not part of the language
> definition -- seems kind of like a step backward in language design
> (Fortran anyone)!
> I'm a screen reader user, and find indentation totally unnecessary. The
> way I deal with c-style languages is to mark my end braces with a comment:
> while (true) {
> // ...
> } // while
> I also tend to stay away from deeply nested code if I can.
> function f(x) {
> if (! x) return false;
> // more stuff
> } // f
> This last bit is obviously very contrived, but if you dispatch all tests
> for undesired conditions first and return, then you don't need deeply
> nested conditional blocks. Obviously, nested loops are quite another
> thing and if you need them, you need them.
> As for the multiline display -- I've been wanting one of those for as
> long as I've been programming.
> I have not tried it, but there is some sort of tactile mouse out there
> that will pop up braille as you move around, but this really doesn't
> help much. To get a real kinesthetic sense of layout, its very helpful
> to have two hands involved. Your brain is adapted for the use of both
> hands and can map this much more easily into sort sort of internal
> spacial image. I could not imagine trying to read a map with one finger.
> It would be very slow and tedious, and would defeat one of the purposes
> of having braille in the first place. Braille, like printed text or
> graphics, allows you to examine a static image. One of the inherent
> problems with speech, and this one-finger braille concept, is that the
> image is not static; it is essentially moving in time and requires you
> to build up a static image in your mind.  Think of how difficult it
> would be to lood at a page of code through a straw, where all you can
> see is one symbol at a time. This is what its like listening to code, or
> anything really. Reading proes is sort of different in that your brain
> is adapted to this from birth from listening to spoken language, but
> code and other highly symbolic communication like mathmatics is very
> difficult to read via speech, or one-finger braille.
> Hopefully, I'll see a full-page braille display before everything goes
> 3D! Ah, one step forward, two steps back -- or maybe its two steps
> forward, and one step back! Depends when you ask...
> -- Rich
> -----Original Message----- From: Robert Poor
> Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 11:03 PM
> To: ChucK Users Mailing List
> Cc: ChucK Users Mailing List
> Subject: [chuck-users] Multiline Braille display
> I always thought the way to make a  multiline Braille display was with
> a fingertip sized "mouse" that would actuate mechanical pins as you
> roll over a virtual page. You'd want the pins to have a much higher
> resolution than standard Braille so you could simulate smooth motion.
> Does anyone make anything like that yet?
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Aug 24, 2011, at 5:01 PM, tempjayren at gmail.com wrote:
>> my thoughts on indentation as regards screen readers, bad idea. unless
>> you are using a multiline braille display, then it could work.
>> unfortunately, i don't know of such a beast, though a single line
>> braille display is expensive in itself, a multiline one would be  worse,
>> and probably best used by someone that had no ears as well as eyes,  and
>> that would make chuck coding rather silly to my way of thinking.
>> On 8/24/2011 10:18 AM, Kassen wrote:
>>> chuck doesn't seem to care about how .ck files look, or am i
>>>> wrong there?
>>> Not at all, no, whatever works for you is fine. Actually part of  the
>>> whole
>>> point of ChucK is that it should be there for you, not for the
>>> computer.
>>> That said; I would take future usage of the file into account and
>>> try to
>>> make things clear for people who may read it in the future (maybe
>>> you in
>>> half a year <smile>). I could imagine that some forms of  indentation
>>> would
>>> be especially good for working with screen-readers, I wonder  whether
>>> any
>>> research has been done there.
>>> Yours,
>>> Kas.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> chuck-users mailing list
>>> chuck-users at lists.cs.princeton.edu
>>> https://lists.cs.princeton.edu/mailman/listinfo/chuck-users
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