Display of Virtual Braille Dots by Lateral Skin Deformation: Feasibility Study

Vincent Levesque1, Jerome Pasquero1, Vincent Hayward1 and Maryse Legault2
(1) Center for Intelligent Machines, McGill University, Montréal, Canada.
(2) VisuAide Inc., Longueuil, Canada.

ACM Transaction on Applied Perception, Vol. 2, No. 2, April 2005, Pages 132149.

Other formats: ACM Digital Library, PDF.

Note to users of screen readers: This version of the paper was created specifically to make our work more accessible. Please contact Vincent Levesque if you encounter problems or if you have suggestions to improve the accessibility of this document. Note that the visual representation of raised or lowered braille dots are denoted as simply "raised" or "lowered" in the document, or in some some instances as "1" or "0".


When a progressive wave of localized deformations occurs tangentially on the fingerpad skin, one typically experiences the illusion of a small object sliding on it. This effect was investigated because of its potential application to the display of Braille. A device was constructed that could produce such deformation patterns along a line. Blind subjects' ability to read truncated Braille characters ('lowered lowered', 'lowered raised', 'raised lowered', and 'raised raised') using the device was experimentally tested and compared to their performance with a conventional Braille medium. While subjects could identify two-character strings with a high rate of success, several factors need to be addressed before a display based on this principle can become practical.

1. Introduction

2. Virtual Braille Display

3. Parameter Tuning

4. Virtual Braille Legibility

5. Control Experiment

6. Conclusion and Future Work