Magnetic Braille Using Ferrofluids

Alex Fletcher, Sam Downs, William James Frost, Daniel Clarke, Kevin Dermot O'Grady, Atsufumi Hirohata

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Braille provides an invaluable tactile reading system for the visually impaired. However, current braille keyboards and technology are external mechanical devices limited by their large form factor, high expense and long refresh rates. A magnetic touchpad in which braille dots are formed through a ferrofluid medium is a potential device that could promise to replace current braille technology by providing higher refresh rates, lower cost and give easy integration into current devices. In this report, work is shown towards developing a proof of concept magnetic braille touch pad, wherein a braille dot is formed using a ferrofluid by a controlled magnetic field produced by a small scale electromagnet. Attempted optimisation of braille dot formation is also undertaken, varying ferrofluid properties and electromagnet architecture to form accurate braille dots. Results show that magnetic braille touch pads are realistic devices that can be built and that there are clearly extensive opportunities for further research. In the future magnetic braille touch pads could be fully implemented into information technology devices for use by the visually impaired.
Original languageEnglish
Article number215001
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2021

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