ELT proposes to develop an inexpensive printer whose output can be read by touch and sight. The printed output will serve as a bridge to society's graphics rich information - for those who are blind as well as those who have a fair bit of residual vision and would benefit from multimodal print materials. The team of engineers and university researchers will leverage Rapid Prototyping (RP) technology's platform innovations, and modify commercially available off-the- shelf materials to achieve the aims. By leveraging existing technologies with known performance, ELT can keep the costs of the printers and their printed materials low. The team expects that the printer, once fully developed, would be capable of printing raised output that meet Library of Congress standards for tactile text production of braille (and other tactile fonts) as well as solid line drawings (e.g. graphs, charts, drawings, an mathematical and scientific information) in a manner that is robust, provides excellent resolution, and is both easy to feel and easy to see.
The research will develop a tactile printer to produce text and graphics that are both tactile and visual. Those who have a visual impairment will use the printer to achieve greater levels of independence, employment and education. Consequently, they are expected to require less health care and enjoy a higher quality of life.