EPFL’s Navigation Tablet for Blind Users

Here is tablet developed by researchers at EPFL that can make life easier for the blind. It forms shapes and maps to allow users to explore with their fingers and find their way around. They can also zoom in on a specific part of the map. The tablet measures 12 by 15 centimeters and has 129 tiny buttons.

Here is how it works:

The underlying mechanism is straightforward. Each button contains a tiny magnet placed between two coils and two thin layers of steel. Any given button can be moved up or down by generating a local magnetic field by driving current through one of the coils for five milliseconds. The magnetized buttons then remain in the up or down position because they attach to one the two steel plates.

Tablets like these can also be used to teach kids things. More info is available here.

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