Project: OpenBraille, a DIY Braille Embosser
Project creator: Carlos Campos and Christelle Fournier
Short description: OpenBraille is a embosser for braille that uses a physical encoder and roller, thus allowing each embossed braille letter to be sequentially printed neatly. OpenBraille is created using 3D printed pieces (as the embosser), wood (as a frame), and an Arduino board (as the “brains”, or what helps communicate the messages to the actual roller embosser). By using 3D printed materials (which need an embossed approach as opposed to the conventional punching letters out approach), this lowers the expense of this machine and therefore creates a more affordable form of assistive braille technology.
Response: I think it is an incredibly resourceful and meaningful project with much more potential. It is a great start to help assistive technologies become more affordable and exposed to larger communities by 1. coming up with novel solutions to the dilemma of medical companies creating expensive and unattainable products and 2. allowing others to create and develop their own prototypes and/or products by providing their exploration, development, and programming code. One of the ways in which I would improve this project is if there were perhaps a way to create a system where one could speak out loud and have a translated middleman that could then command the Arduino to emboss the words, and/or a smaller version of this embosser machine, perhaps to a laptop version so that one could carry it with them on the go, almost as if a modern day type writer of sorts.