Award supports continued development of a refreshable braille and tactile graphics display for blind people
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- NewHaptics, an innovative tactile display technology company, announced it has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The competitive $1.7M grant was awarded by the National Eye Institute, which aims to eliminate vision loss and improve quality of life through vision research. This is the third SBIR award received by NewHaptics to date, and supports the company's development of novel tactile display technology for a low-cost multiline refreshable braille display for the blind.
NewHaptics Awarded NIH SBIR Phase II Grant to Commercialize Multiline Braille and Graphical Tactile Display
The Company's patented tactile display technology enables the creation of a compact, portable, and large-area tactile "screen." Unlike the state-of-the-art technology for existing refreshable braille displays, NewHaptics' technology can scale up to a large-area display supporting a grid of thousands of small tightly-packed tactile dots. Like pixels on a computer screen, the dots can be selectively raised and lowered to render multiple lines of braille and tactile graphics in real time on the surface of the device.
This novel approach solves major hurdles related to size and cost that have prevented the scaling up of existing technology to support a multiline braille display device. The Company's tactile display components are batch manufactured in a process similar to how computer chips are made; thousands of tiny tactile dots are fabricated together in a single component. A small set of components, rather than thousands of individual parts, support enough dots for a large-area tactile screen in a low-profile form factor.
NewHaptics was founded with the goal of improving the lives of people who are blind by enabling true digital interaction using the sense of touch. The company has its roots in the "Holy Braille Project" funded by the National Science Foundation that focused on developing novel technology to enable the creation of a large-area tactile display for the blind. Since spinning off from the University of Michigan in 2018, NewHaptics has raised funding from federal and state grants to support research and development.