Braille Keyboard

A brailler style keyboard input device for a computer/smartphone for the visually impaired

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Of 40 million blind people in the world, only 10% can read and write braille.
One of the primary reason for this is because braille hasn't yet found its footing in the digital era, due to the sheer cost of such devices, as well as the affordability matrix of the visually impaired.

Working with visually impaired groups around the country, I have come to understand that braille literacy is of utmost importance, not just as a medium for information exchange, but also for the cognitive development of the brain itself

This is a braille keyboard that presents a better user input device for the visually impaired, that improves his/her throughput, and even takes advantage of braille shorthand, and potentially lowers the barrier to learning braille.

Market Research:

This braille keyboard, as well as the refreshable braille display ( is a step to bring braille into the digital age, at a cost affordable to those who need it.

Using a standard keyboard is very difficult to use by the visually impaired due to the learning curve. Even with using a braille overlay on a standard keyboard( braille embossed on the keys), the issue of speed still persists. Due to different keyboard sizes in laptops, it's not possible to find something of one particular standard.

With the advent of budget smartphones/tablets, the visually impaired can now have access to powerful technology, but a huge majority of the smartphone market is dominated by touchscreens.

Thus, an affordable tactile input device is the need of the hour for the visually impaired that can be used along with smartphones/tablets as well as PC's/Laptops.

Possible outcomes of this initiative:

-Increase in efficiency at work/higher throughput, enabling better paying jobs.
-Ability to use services like instant messaging better ( and thus aid communication, reach, and network for the visually impaired)
- BLIND CODERS! : would enable and encourage more visually impaired to take up coding, and hence improve their social and financial status

User group feedback:

Taking Feedback from the visually impaired community in my city, I've improved on the industrial design .

the keys of the device would be curved so that fingers do not slip off of the buttons. Also, tactile feedback is important, thus, appropriate buttons will be selected.

Using a USB micro cable adds additional challenge of orientation, and appropriate indicators must be embossed on the cable end, and the device to prevent confusion.

Design/Engineering considerations:

3D Printable

No drivers required

Off the shelf components
Low cost



4 Direction buttons

12 Brailler type buttons

Bluetooth compatibility for smartphones

USB connector for PC/Mac

Rechargeable battery backup

Vibration Motor for Feedback

Software to speak out character's as they are typed.


CERN open hardware licence

Adobe Portable Document Format - 55.06 kB - 04/19/2016 at 18:55



CERN open hardware licence

Adobe Portable Document Format - 95.73 kB - 04/19/2016 at 18:55



Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 24.94 kB - 04/07/2016 at 05:34



Initial sketch of device

JPEG Image - 73.83 kB - 04/06/2016 at 05:55


  • 1 × BLE Nano BLE 4.1 dev. board by RedBear Lab
  • 1 × MK20 USB board Programming BLE nano
  • 8 × Push Button

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  • 1
    Step 1

    This documentation describes Open Hardware and is licensed under the

    CERN OHL v. 1.2.

    You may redistribute and modify this documentation under the terms of the

    CERN OHL v.1.2. ( This documentation is distributed



    PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Please see the CERN OHL v.1.2 for applicable


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