Tactile inkjet printers for
The invention of Braille, in the last century, dramatically improved
access to information for visually impaired persons. The raised-point writing system
offers blind readers access to literature and correspondence. However, office and home
equipment manufacturers tend to ignore this community's needs; especially when it comes to
access to graphical information, which is so important in the multimedia age.
Project PRINT has developed a tactile inkjet printer and a tactile fax software
program. The new printer is quiet and simple to use and can print Braille, Moon (a system
of embossed alphabetical signs for older, blind persons) and graphics in far better
quality than previously possible. Users can also change the size and shape of their
The printer is in the prototype stage and has been extensively tested over the last two
years. The tactile printer is expected to become a commercial product in the near future.
It adds material to the paper rather than embossing it. Other features include intelligent
colour-to-relief conversion and a document analysis capability built into the TacFax
program, enabling the blind to access complex, graphic-intensive faxes. They can thus
integrate more easily into an office or school environment.
The tactile inkjet printer is in operation on the PRINT stand where visitors can also
see automatic fax conversion using the tactile fax program.