Many existing refreshable Braille display technologies are costly or lack robust performance. A process has been developed to fabricate consistent and reliable pneumatic balloon actuators at low material cost, using a novel manufacturing process. This technique has been adapted for use in refreshable Braille displays that feature low power consumption, ease of manufacture and small form factor. A prototype refreshable cell, conforming to American Braille standards, was developed and tested. The cell was fabricated from molded PDMS to form balloon actuators with a spin-coated silicone film, and fast pneumatic driving elements and an electronic control system were developed to drive the Braille dots. Perceptual testing was performed to determine the feasibility of the approach using a single blind human subject. The subject was able to detect randomized Braille letters rapidly generated by the actuator with 100% character detection accuracy.
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