Refreshable Braille Display

A cost effective way to make a refreshable braille display

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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.

Low-cost braille displays have been sought after for quite a while with no avail.
Commercially available braille displays employ peizo-electric actuated pins, which are very expensive.

Due to the sheer expense of braille technology, and the scarce availability of books in braille, the medium is slowly falling out of favour. But many agree that braille literacy is paramount for the empowerment of the blind for education and employment.

The display would be used along with to make a full modular braille computer

I have been working with braille for about 3 years now. My first attempt at a prototype used a dot-matrix printer head:

At Makerfaire Bangalore, I met Paul D'souza and was amazed by his innovative designs for refreshable braille displays. One of his designs used these vibrator motors.

Im looking to build on that brillant idea and build a system that is more robust and can be understood and reproduced and improved by people all over the world for the visually impared , similar to how the open source prosthetics movement have helped so many amputees.

The method of working is as follows:

Motor+Cam :

The heart of the mechanism is a series of pico-motors that are commonly used as vibration motors with a weight on the end.

We modify the weight to have a profile similar to the above so that is may act like a cam, when shaft axis is verticle.

Motor holder + Stoppers:

The motor holder holds all the motors in the appropriate positions to actuate the pins. There are stoppers that prevent the cam from rotating continuously that are integrated into the design.

At the particular position where the cam followers are placed, depending on the rotation of the motor, the cam follower will he higher, when motor rotates one direction, and is lower in the other. The stopper make the motors behave in a "binary" fashion. The functioning will become clearer once the cam follower is explained.

Cam follower + Lever + Spring + Pins:

The cam followers, that will be riding on the motor's cam is shown in the first image( the three projections). The cam follower is attached to the lever bar, that is fixed on one end ( the large rectangular part). The level bar has the braille pins on the other end.

The material used for this part would be ABS, or Nylon, that would be slightly flexible without causing fatigue.

Thus the movement of the cam, wold cause the cam follower to move up, that flexes the lever pushing the braille pin upwards and the lever is displaced from its natural position. when the cam causes the cam follower to fall, the level bar falls back to its natural position and thus acts like a spring.

Everything is assembled in the above fashion. Two lever arrangements and six motors make up a single braille cell.
Faceplate+ Pin Guide:

The faceplate forms the surface on which the pins pop out.

One module contains two refreshable braille cells( like above).Modules will be linked together to make a full braille display. i.e, for a 20 character refreshable braille display, 10 modules would be used.

The below image illustrates the working better. the white arrows indicate direction of motion.


Cern Open hardware Licence 1.2

Adobe Portable Document Format - 55.06 kB - 04/19/2016 at 18:53



Cern Open hardware Licence 1.2

Adobe Portable Document Format - 95.73 kB - 04/19/2016 at 18:53


  • Motor-gasm : The most amazing motor on earth!

    Vijay07/12/2016 at 20:20 9 comments

    The micro stepper motors I ordered just arrived, and god are they brilliant!

    I did some rudimentary experiments about the amount of torque it has, and if it would suffice for my application, and I think it would, although i'm afraid it might miss steps.

    I'm driving this straight out from the Arduino pins that should be ~40mA source and sink. Possibly some more juice from a proper driver will do the torque some good.

    Let me know what you think. I would also like to thank all those who responded to my earlier log, especially @HTCPCP 418, whose micro stepper motor driver approach, ill probably be taking.

    Ill be uploading CAD data for these motors in a few days if anyone is interested.

    The link to this motor is :

  • Help needed driving multiple stepper motors.

    Vijay06/26/2016 at 07:02 16 comments

    We are trying to figure out the best way to drive as many stepper motors simultaneously ( for the actuation system mentioned in the last post ) .

    -There are 40 stepper motors in total for a 20 cell braille display, two per each cell. They preferably need to be actuated simultaneously.

    -The motors do not require too much current ( unknown amount since there is no datasheet, motors will arrive in a couple of days)

    -The motors are 4 wire- Bipolar steppers, with 15 step a rotation.

    -it takes roughly 25 rotations of the stepper motor to reach from one end of the linear selector system to another.

    Some of the approaches friends have suggested:

    -Using many stepper drivers like allegro or TI's solution each connected to a slave MCU like an attiny85, that takes serial input. ( i.e, each braille cell has stepper motor controller and a MCU)

    -Using a I2C, SPI port expander connected to a main MCU

    -Using an LED driver

    Any suggestions for this problem?

  • ! New Actuation System !

    Vijay06/22/2016 at 20:42 3 comments

    I've been straight at it, thinking about alternatives for the last actuation system after last weeks events. I think ive got a good robust system this time, that actually is simpler than the last one in terms of components and size. Lesser parts to be 3D Printed, and more that can be bought off-the-shelf


    Micro Stepper Motor


    3x2 Pogo pins


    Using retractable pogo pins, that are engaged/disengaged using some sort of linear motion ( servo/ stepper/spring/solenoid for up and down motion) that pass though a pin-selector slider mechanism that allows only some select pins to pass actuated by the micro stepper motor.

    note: once an array of these is built, the engaging/disengageing ( up and down) motion of the pogo pins can happen simultaneously( for all braille cells together) with a since actuator.

    What do you think?

  • Discontinuing work on current actuation method

    Vijay06/18/2016 at 20:51 3 comments

    Hi all,

    As mentioned in my previous post, it’s been brought to our attention that features of the open source refreshable Braille display project have already been covered under a patent application filed by Paul D’souza on 5th November, 2014.

    Paul’s patent describes the use of “micro-motor actuated pins, the pin cantilever design, the mechanical stop to limit rotor rotation, motors with rotors or cams, mounted vertically or horizontally used to lift pins directly or via an interposer, low force selector etc” - many of these are featured we have included in this device.

    Paul has requested we discontinue the project in the interest of potential manufacturers and licensees of his patent, as well as to avoid any legal obligations he may face with the patent office. As a result, the CERN Open Hardware License the project was released under has effectively been invalidated and so I have discontinued work on this current method of braille pin actuation. The patent will severely restrict any global (and particularly local) impact we can make with this project, which was our whole motivation.

    However, I would like to make clear that the designs and documentation we have released have been created from scratch, sharing only the working principles of Paul’s patent. My intention has always been to make a completely 3D printable refreshable braille display that anyone can access and I have been working on braille technologies for the past three years. As part of this work, I have developed software to convert text documents to braille and built two refreshable braille display prototypes, one using micro servo actuators and another using a hacked dot-matrix printer head. At that time, I was still a kid in college and didn’t have much knowledge about production techniques or skill in design, CAD, and electronics.

    Things have changed a lot since then. Going through the process of setting up and running a 3D printing and product design startup, I’ve learned exactly what I need to know to create just about anything. I actually met Paul at a local Maker Faire and we instantly connected because of our shared efforts on braille and I was amazed and intrigued by his genius ideas for actuation. This meeting resparked my passion for braille and I began using cell-phone vibration motors as a method of actuation along with my experience with FDM 3D printing and product development to create a solution that anyone in the world could potentially have access to just by downloading the files.

    What’s more, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to show one of my early braille display prototypes to the president of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, before he passed away. He made me promise that I would do everything in my power to ensure the project would reach the people that it matters most to and that has become my life's mission ever since.

    Since the 3D designs and documentation are my own original intellectual property, I will be releasing everything under Creative Commons Attribution-shareAlike 4.0 International. This is an open source license that allows anyone to use, modify, and share the documentation and 3D designs under the same license. However, anyone wishing to manufacture and distribute the device itself should contact Paul D’Souza on I have done this to ensure that people can make a personal copy for studying purposes.

    I will certainly not stop working on the refreshable braille display due to this hiccup. I have seen some amazing motors from Aliexpress while buying motors for the current system and I am confident that by collaborating with other members of the open hardware community we come up with a “patent infringement free” solution that is feasible, scalable, and will achieve my goal of bringing digital literacy to the visually impaired all around the world.

    I wish @PAUL DSOUZA all the best, he has been incredibly supportive on this project, and multiple others my team and I have been working on. I...

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  • Updates!

    Vijay06/17/2016 at 15:26 1 comment

    On suggestion from @Yann Guidon / YGDES I've scaled the mechanism by 1.1 times. It changes the dimensions by a very small amount (0.6mm over a character) so that I can accommodate 4mm motors for the time being since the 3mm ones are proving hard to find. I shall maintain another copy of this version of the mechanism in another folder.

    Using the prize money from the "Anything Goes" round ( YEY!) ive purchased the following motors and eagerly await their arrival:

    The electronics design will take advantage of the spring leads of the motors to have a "solder-less" connection to the driver board. As mentioned in an earlier post, it driver circuitry will be similar to that used in Flip-Dot displays (Thanks Martin )

    I have been requested by @PAUL DSOUZA to make everyone aware that the features mentioned in this Project thus far are covered under a patent application filed at The PatentOffice, Chennai, by him on 05Nov2014 …5559/CHE/2014. If anyone wants to exploit features of this design, they would need to get in touch with Paul or his patent attorneys (Origiin IP Solutions LLP), as rules require that even the Patent Office to be kept informed of activities in regards to patents.

    I have also been toying with the idea suggested by @Keith Minsel using cams to drive the pins. After finding some really cool motors on aliexpress (God bless China) Ive made up my mind to make a prototype using a stepper-cam system to lift pins up and down.

    I'm considering using either a linear compound cam, on a circular one. I hope people can decipher the drawings above, The prongs are the same cam followers that I have currently on the design, only the motor block would be replaced. Any help with making the decision is appreciated( circular or linear)

    The stepper motors:

    I guarantee the size would surprise you.

  • Thats one tiny motor!

    Vijay05/12/2016 at 17:30 0 comments

    I found a single 4mm dia motor from somewhere, and am in the process of modifying to see if it works. it struck me how small these things are!

    I'm also in the process of working out the electronics, looking at how Flip Dot displays are run, and probably follow the same method for the driving circuitry.

    Using the following resources for that ( Thanks to Martin for the idea) :

  • Pin actuation looks promising!

    Vijay04/29/2016 at 12:06 2 comments

    I couldn't get the motors I need, but was able to source a 6mm dia version (double the size I need) to see if the cam+follower thing would work, I just couldn't take the suspense of not knowing!

    I was too lazy to CAD anything for the test, I had to know IMMEDIATELY!

    so I ground the weight to a shape I wanted, got my friends iPhone to record in slow mo, and it looks promising!
    I can't be 100% sure the final would work, since the actual motors I need to use are smaller, but I feel it's got a fighting chance!

    I also realised I'm using 2 simple machines, a lever and a ramp, and it oddly satisfies me for some reason.

    - there is only a ~0.5mm lift required at the cam follower to achieve the required lift at the pin.
    Hence, a shallower angle on the cam, would make it even more easier to lift the pin ( because of the shallower slope of the ramp of the cam )

    I contacted sales at Precision Microdrives about sponsoring their motor,

    They got back saying they won't lower the MOQ or the price :( gotta figure out another way of getting my hands on them, or else try and change the design to use 4mm dia motors from china ( highly unlikely they will fit the requirement due to the size constraint)

    A big thanks to @Anool Mahidharia for the article on Hackaday today!

  • CAD design changes and improvements

    Vijay04/27/2016 at 21:22 0 comments

    Updated the description with the above image. As you can see, the changes in the last few logs now reflect the CAD design.

    -The Cam Follower(blue) & Pin Lever(red) are different parts to aid 3D Printability

    -Jig-saw type thingies on the sides, for chaining the module to create a full display

  • Cam followers+ Spring action working!

    Vijay04/24/2016 at 15:45 0 comments

    The cam followers were printed, and came out beautifully . The Spring action works just like planned.

    the only thing left to test is the cam actuation with the motor.

    Link and description of the motor :

    The MOQ and price is a little expensive for me at the moment, I will be contacting them and asking if they will sponsor the motors for the project.

    The video below shows the cam followers and the spring action pulling the pins back down after pushing the cam followers up.

  • The perfect tolerances: Assembly time!

    Vijay04/19/2016 at 18:32 0 comments

    The above image shows the shaft-lever part into the braille cell plate. It took 4-5 iterations (available on the dropbox link) to get the tolerances just right, such that the pins don't get stuck in the shaft of the braille cell plate.

    The above image shows the side view of the braille cell's, along with the pin-lever part assembled and held in place with an M2 screw. the pins are "below" the surface of the braille cell plate when not pressed, due to the spring action of the lever ( by the cam follower)

    In the above image, I'm applying a slight force on one of the lever, that causes the pin to move up. Quite simple really.

    Now its time to test with motors!

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Enjoy this project?



paulvdh wrote 08/09/2023 at 20:16 point

This is going on now for a few years...

For driving many stepper motors, when each has a driver chip you need step and direction pulses. I think you can drive all the direction inputs from a singe uC pin All motors would then turn in the same direction (or at least in a pre-determined direction) and you only have to provide step pulses for each of the motors. This can be handled by a single big uC.

You have also directly driven stepper motors from uC pins. If you need more current you can parallel multiple pins (needs careful programming).  Driving many motors would overheat a big CPU, but you can have some serial protocol and a bunch of small uC's that each drive 1 to 4 or so motors directly from their I/O pins. Current consumption can be made with series resisters on some of the I/O pins. Drive all pins if you need torque, and only the pins with the series resistors for the hold current.

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discapacidad5 wrote 12/10/2021 at 02:39 point

Friend I tried to download your pieces but they are in inventor format I don't have it because inventor asks for a lot of ram and in stl there are not all the pieces, you could put it in a compatible format like 3ds dae obj dwg dxf fbx fcstd ifc iv json kmz skb stl wrl xsi

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Vijay wrote 10/10/2023 at 14:12 point

Check out the latest updates here

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discapacidad5 wrote 12/04/2021 at 17:53 point

It's amazing how expensive assistive technology is. A small flagil braille display costs more than $ 1,200 USD and a good quality one goes from $ 3,000 to $ 6,000. That is why I am developing an open source project. This is by no means a finished product. Being an open source project, I hope others will improve the design. In the near future, with the help of volunteers, Brailletouch will reduce the cost of a braille display by 90% and allow anyone who is visually impaired or deafblind to read and write braille, as well as use a computer or mobile device efficiently. and without noise. So if you know someone, if you are a creator, if you are curious or if you want to help, feel free to enter our repository and help me build a community around Brailletouch.
The encoder is practically the heart of the braille display. Most commercial braille displays have 40 or 80 braille cells. Since the most expensive on a braille display is braille cells, which cost more than $ 35 each, we are designing a new form of braille display with 40 virtual cells and a single physical braille cell, reducing most of the cost. . We are talking about a braille cell that can be made from 3D printed parts, I designed a different system. Instead of activating 40 cells at the same time and applying all the power to 40 physical cells, Brailletouch uses a physical encoder and a virtual braille display of 40 touch sensors placed in a matrix. In this way, the braille text is gradually displayed in a single braille cell as the virtual cells are touched. Parts can be easily printed.

My braille display design succeeds in reducing the cost of a braille display by over 90%. Currently, a braille screen has a cost between $ 1200 and $ 6000, being $ 1200 the smallest and most fragile, my proposal seeks to achieve a braille screen that can be manufactured between 100 and $ 150, it could even be much cheaper when making production mass. Basically, we could have a screen at an affordable price for all visually impaired and deafblind people.

My project is open source. The idea is to make available to anyone anywhere in the world a code that can be modified and improved, files for 3D printers to print their parts and an assembly manual, so that anyone can download, print, assemble and use

Its development is based on an esp32 microcontroller. (What is open source hardware)

I do this because I am looking for support if you can support or meet someone who can support with the following needs:

Microcontroller Programmer

Diceño in 3d

Handling the HiD protocol (we need to create the code for the Esp-32 to communicate with the breille HID)

Language translator

Documentation development

Economical support

Any company or organization that finances the project.

If you can support some of these needs or know someone who can do it or an organization that can financially finance the project, I would be very grateful if you could contact me at +584129994784


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paulvdh wrote 03/01/2020 at 13:50 point

With all those motors, driving them is a real issue, especially if the whole thing needs to be compact.

How much voltage and current do these motors need?

They may be small enough to directly controll the windings to the outputs of a uC or HC595 shift register.

That would be 2 motors on the 8 outputs of a 74HC595 Maybe these motors are available in different current / voltage combinations.

Maybe put 2 outputs in parallel to lower output resistance.

If the motors do not have to be driven you can put the outputs in Tri-state.

Another way to drive bipolar motors is to directly connect one side of each motor winding directly to GND, and the other to either a positive or negative voltage.

The two techniques can also be combined. Then you will need 2 switchable voltaga rails that can be either switched to GND or Vcc, and you connect these to one side of all the A and B coils of all the motors. Then switch the other side of those motor windings individually with the outputs of your shift registers. There are SOIC ic's with mosfet's in Half H-bridge configuration. They can be used to increase the current handling of the shift register outputs if needed. But just 2 transistors per output also work.

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Strike.Productions wrote 10/15/2018 at 20:16 point

hi I’m working with a group on a project to improve the blinds way of life and I believe if we could mass produce the final product these could be put in stores and various other places so the blind don’t have to rely on others or rely on product placement 

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Vijay wrote 10/10/2023 at 14:13 point

Check out the updated project here

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tonny_hoo wrote 06/14/2018 at 07:46 point

Great project! Eepecially for blind people. Really kind of you.

I'm a student in china and want also start a project like this to help more blind people .Now I bought the vibraiton motor you have showed <a href="</a> . Is this vibraiton motor workable

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Vijay wrote 10/10/2023 at 14:13 point

Check out the updated project here

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teoteehsien wrote 03/30/2017 at 08:56 point

hi vijay, may i ask where did u buy the small linear servo?  as shown in the new actuation system post?

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Injoip wrote 09/30/2016 at 16:06 point

Hello vijay, Im a student in University, I have a big interest in engineering and Im very excited about your project, Im wanna make one to present my grandpa on his birthday as a gift because he's blind. In your CAD files, it doesn't have an exact size, can you tell me the size of those things ?  Im looking forward to hearing from you, thank you so much .

  Are you sure? yes | no

Vijay wrote 10/03/2016 at 05:23 point

Hi, it very gratifying to hear that, and is something that will motivate me to finish this project.

Were you able to open the files? do you want me to save the assembly as a consolidated step file?

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Injoip wrote 10/05/2016 at 05:37 point

I opened the file, but Im didn't see any size, maybe the size is integrated and when I bring it to the 3D printing, the printer will understand, right? If I can, I would like to see the assembly as a consolidated step file too, it would be very nice. I'm working on the program, it's almost done 

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Andrew wrote 06/28/2016 at 13:05 point

How about a tiny one of these?

That one is pretty big, but shows the principle of operation.  Tape recorders had small ones.

Imagine 3 reels, mounted vertically, not horizontally like the counter.  Each reel is a square, so it has four positions, not ten.  On the facets of the reel is zero, one, one, or two dots.  So different combinations of the three reels can make a Braille character cell.

Turning the first reel once makes the next reel turn by one quarter.  Turning the second reel once makes the third wheel turn by one quarter.  Thus, the character can be reset within 16 turns.

The first reel can be driven by a direct drive motor, or a stepper, or a solenoid.  Only one drive is required for the whole cell.

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K.C. Lee wrote 06/28/2016 at 14:27 point

I was thinking along the same line as those music box player drum, but the actuators are stretched to linear strips and driven by the new linear stepper motor. Sort of like paper tapes for old computers except with bumps.

The top part would be like this

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Vijay wrote 06/29/2016 at 09:47 point

Someone send me this link just yesterday, did you check the log involving pogo pins?.

 The stepper motors will be cleared from customs today, and I will CAD and post the design online as soon as it reaches here, possubly will give people more ideas. 

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Vijay wrote 06/29/2016 at 09:44 point

I love this idea. Id like to explore it after the current design is done. Possibly a micro gear train done on a SLA/PolyJet machine for a size acceptable for braille. 

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Gabriel wrote 06/19/2016 at 13:39 point

hey... how about making the dots simple contacts that pass high voltage instead of fisically moving? Avoid any mechanism pattent.

Obviously high voltage enough to feel but not to harm or be unconfortable.... this could be ajusted by the final user as a preference. I dont know what is the threshold for this to work.

Your design basically becomes a PCB with exposed pads and a "High voltage" segment diver of sorts....

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Vijay wrote 06/20/2016 at 09:13 point

I had the opportunity to talk to someone in the field of psychophysics, the study of the relations between physical stimuli and mental phenomena on the subject of braille.  This approach is definitely one worth researching on, there are some very fascinating research in this field from Disney. Ill look more into it. 

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Gabriel wrote 06/20/2016 at 12:02 point

This is probably the best project here.

Keep it up.

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Gabriel wrote 06/20/2016 at 12:02 point

This is probably the best project here.

Keep it up.

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Vijay wrote 06/30/2016 at 03:22 point

Thank you for the encouragement!

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zakqwy wrote 06/18/2016 at 14:18 point

Awesome project! Keep up the great work!

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Vijay wrote 06/30/2016 at 03:22 point

Thank you! 

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PAUL DSOUZA wrote 06/18/2016 at 11:55 point

Vijay, as K.C. Lee says, making a one off for study is ok.  It becomes a problem when multiple people start wanting to produce the same not knowing a patent exists.  Also, pls check Bristol Braille Technology's -   Ed Rogers   ---Quixote and Canute regarding the linear cams.    

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PAUL DSOUZA wrote 06/17/2016 at 18:28 point


from the pat office rules I have been provided ... "Further , Section 146(2) of the Act and Rule  131(2) of The Patent Rules 2003 provide that every patentee and patent licensee should furnish the details of working of the patented invention in Form 27 in respect of every calendar year within three months of the end of each year"

I have no wish to enter into all the legalities with the patent office prematurely regarding whom I give permission to produce the device. It also makes it difficult to explain to potential manufacturers / licensees that permission has already been given to x, y, z.  

Guys like you would, I am sure, be able to come up with something  unique that can be developed in the public domain if desired.  The only criteria is that you would still need to do a prior patent search.

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K.C. Lee wrote 06/17/2016 at 18:41 point

There are two separate issues.  One is a patent which describe the methods/ideas only valid in the jurisdiction(s) that has been granted/recognized.  The other one is the Copyright of the design.  i.e. actual artwork, design files etc. The project can retains its copyright regardless of the patent issues. The only thing is that the readers need to be informed of an existing patent which might affect if/where it can be manufactured/distributed.

Patents do allow for making a personal copy for studying purposes.  Sadly that this project get caught up in a patent dispute.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

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deʃhipu wrote 06/18/2016 at 12:48 point

I think it's an excellent opportunity for everyone to see for themselves and learn why so many improvements and inventions, sometimes life-saving and life-changing for the people in need of them, never see the light of day. It's because of patent squatters who "have no wish to enter into all the legalities", but had no problem with the legalities involved in registering their patent.

  Are you sure? yes | no

PAUL DSOUZA wrote 06/16/2016 at 04:29 point
Hi Vijay,

while I have
been supportive and impressed with your efforts in trying to produce a rapidly
prototyped Refreshable Braille Display thus far, I was just informed by my patent attorneys that that I needto let you know that before you take this Refreshable Braille Display projectforward further you must be made aware that all of the features you havepublished thus far are covered under a patent application filed at The PatentOffice, Chennai, by myself on 05Nov2014 …5559/CHE/2014 . The said patentapplication for a Refreshable Braille Display covers the use of micro-motoractuated pins, the pin cantilever design, the mechanical stop to limit rotorrotation, motors with rotors or cams, mounted vertically or horizontally usedto lift pins directly or via an interposer, low force selector etc.  Iprototyped just one of the variants covered by the patent that I deemed to bethe most feasible and cost effective. Amongst the peoplefollowing your project on this open forum there might be some who believe that
this design is open source,  and that
prior arts and patents do not exist. I was advised that this impression needs
to be corrected immediately.

You will need
to let the public know that if anyone wants to exploit features of this design,
they would need to get in touch with me or my patent attorneys (Origiin IP Solutions LLP), as rules require that
even the Patent Office be kept informed of activities in regards to patents.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Vijay wrote 06/17/2016 at 11:39 point

Hi Paul,

Sure no problem, I shall post a log relaying the same. Since the patent is already granted, would you be willing to put it under a non-commercial licence, so that people like me can develop the idea further?  and in case anyone wants to commercially use the design they may contact you. 

So far the CAD files i've released ( available in the dropbox link) are under the CERN licence ( let me know how best to modify it. 

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deʃhipu wrote 06/17/2016 at 14:29 point

I'm not sure Indian patents are valid on the Internet ;-)

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Arya wrote 06/06/2016 at 19:26 point

You might have funding for ordering enough of those smaller motors now, it seems! Cheers!

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Vijay wrote 06/17/2016 at 16:45 point

I went to town buying all sorts of miniature motors from China, I just hope I made the right choices :p

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tstenswold wrote 06/06/2016 at 17:34 point

This is very interesting and I commend you for your efforts.  Have you considered the possibility of using a rotary display?  Since each horizontal row of the Braille character only has four possible positions (no pips raised, left pip, right pip, both pips), any symbol could be conveyed using three cylinders with four faces each.  Two symbols side by side could be accomplished with 16-faced cylinders.  I understand that this would require some positioning feedback, but might be accomplished with cheap optical/mechanical encoding.  It may be a way to lower the total number of motors used and thereby reduce the cost and noise.

Mind you, this is simply off the top of my head idea.  Clearly you've been working hard at this for some time and are doing a great job.  Keep up the good work!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Vijay wrote 06/17/2016 at 16:46 point


Thats a good idea, another person had suggested something similar. Check my latest log, Ive bought miniature stepper motors that may take care of the positioning. 

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Mati wrote 05/05/2016 at 03:49 point

Great project! :)

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Vijay wrote 05/12/2016 at 17:31 point

Thankyou! :D

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Sandeep Patil wrote 04/30/2016 at 07:39 point

Brilliant work!  

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Vijay wrote 05/12/2016 at 17:31 point

Thankyou! :D

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Keith Minsel wrote 04/27/2016 at 12:23 point

Have you considered driving the pin pair positions with a set of 3 8-position cams using a single servo/motor and reduction gearing?

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Vijay wrote 04/27/2016 at 15:49 point

Thanks for the message and drawing! it got my mind wandering

I did a little research to see what gears can be used with pico motors :

I don't think any of the off the shelf servo motors available would fit the size limitations. Do you know of any?

I like the idea of a single cam-train actuating multiple pins. 


combining this with a linear cam that has all the combinations of crests and troughs for a number of pins.

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joe57005 wrote 04/27/2016 at 00:41 point

Have you considered shape memory alloys? they take more current than motors, but you could make some truly tiny actuators.

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Vijay wrote 04/27/2016 at 10:22 point

There is research regarding this (

but has some apparent drawbacks: the refresh rate, heat produced and thus requires a cooling system current consumption, and fatigue.

If you know of any new developments in this field, do let me know!

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