11/20/2018 at 07:39 •
Tipo Braille Keyboard Phase 1 Project Plan
Feedback from latest user test:
- Main keys (6 keys) should be placed at equal distance and perpendicular to each other(in a straight line).
- Buttons get stuck into the panel while punching, button quality to be better
- Keypunching registers are not regular. Sometimes, the keys are not captured accurately
- Separate buttons required for space, delete and enter keys
- 4-way navigation keys required programmed with swipe left and swipe right features
- USB port to be replaced with Bluetooth (4.0 or higher)
- Keys can be smaller, square shaped
- The texture of the front of the device can be made non-slippery
- Size of the device to be reduced to suit portrait mode
- Silicone material to be pasted on the edges of the device
- Removable tool to be affixed on the device
- Optional: volume rocker buttons to be installed
Design Changes being considered for next prototype considering feedback:
- Main 6 Braille keys placed in a equidistant rectangular grid
- Replacing existing silicone buttons with higher quality buttons
- Separate buttons for Space, Enter and Backspace
- 5 way navigation + OK/Enter key :
- Bluetooth operation instead of USB
- Designed for Portrait mode use case
- Volume rocker switch to be added:
01/12/2018 at 07:36 •
I visited a local NGO for the blind to carry out the first user prototype testing, upon their invitation. The test was carried out by people with and without prior knowledge of Braille. This is what we observed:
- When the device is attached vertically, along the length of the phone, it is a little inconvenient to grip it.
- The placement of the keypad causes a little inconvenience in the wrist while gripping the device.
- Stray touches to the touchscreen while typing.
- The space key is a positive differentiator.
- Buttons need to have a stronger actuator.
The feedback we received from the user group was very informative for us. Here are the excerpts:
- Suggested incorporation of means of navigating the smartphone through the keypad.
- Suggested option of switching between Braille typing and any other popular mode like T9 or QWERTY keypad for people who have recently lost their vision.
We will be looking to cover more institutions like these to get assistance on improving the prototype through more user tests.
01/12/2018 at 07:12 •
Consolidating on the Hackaday Prize recently received for the Best Product Design and 5th Place overall at the Hackaday SuperCon 2017, we have been working on developing more prototypes for the purpose of carrying out demonstration and user testing. This is done to gain some valuable feedback to carry out improvisation and additions, if necessary, to the functionality of the product. There was a slight change made to the prototype design to accommodate the 16 MHz oscillator within the enclosure we got 3-D printed. A slit was created at the back for the oscillator to provide preference to functionality over ergonomics in this iteration of the prototype.
11/27/2017 at 07:17 •
You heard that right! I just got back to work after my [Vijay} trip to the US to attend the Hackaday SuperCon 2017. Last couple of weeks feel like a blur, dealing with the overwhelming emotions and getting over jet lag twice! [India is almost on the other side of the earth] Thank you to all the Judges and Hackaday for this opportunity!
In case you missed it, here is the Ceremony:
I've gotten some great response back home. @Shree Kumar has modified his open source smartphone based on his KiteBoard project (http://www.kiteboard.io/blog) to integrate Tipo's keyboard directly inside!
I'm looking for a couple of full-time interns to work on the project in Bangalore India, since everyone else on the team has been working part time, and we need to accelerate its deployment in the market.
If you are from Bangalore, India, we need someone who:
- Is well versed with Arduino programming and good programming practices.
- Can talk to people from other organisations, work with the visually impaired, take feedback.
-Operations and Project Management. Interfacing with vendors etc.
-PCB Design, 3D Prining, CAD Design slillz would be nice.
Let me know if you are interested!
11/08/2017 at 10:01 •
They have a very detailed process and documentation procedure when it comes to projects for the disabled and are putting a team of volunteers together to help us with it. With this, they say getting stakeholders from various NGO's and Government will be easier since the value proposition is well documented, as well as will give us detailed feedback to focus future development, and not chase every feature request we have been getting.
The PCB designs are slightly updated, for making assembly easier with all components on one side, and button pads on the other ( as opposed to everything being on one side). I Will be updating the source files once the boards are assembled and tested.
I am flying to Pasadena day-after to attend the Hackaday Superconferance on 10th, 11th and 12th. Looking forward to meeting amazing people and hope we get somewhere in the Hackaday prize !
See you there!
10/30/2017 at 11:11 •
Because of the national coverage that Tipo has gotten, Many visually impaired have been getting in touch with me, and I wanted to write a log sharing some of the latest feedback:
1) The Blind "Baba" :
in India, a baba is a religious godman . One of the followers of a bind baba got in touch saying that, the baba struggles to update his social media, and needs help to do it every time. He uses a feature phone for convenience but wants to be self sufficient by using a smartphone.
The tactile buttons were a breeze to use, and made him really happy. The problem is that he wanted to use Tipo in the regional language of Kannada.
Adding multi language support will be pushed up the priority list of to do tasks.
2) The Blind lawyer:
I have never seen someone so happy and excited in my life. It bought a tear to my eye. He expressed how important such a device can be for the visually impaired who want to to move up in their career by being self sufficient, and also to learn and be proficient in braille . He was happy to know that where are plans to code Tipo for contracted braille, as he is pretty advanced in braille.
He expressed the need for some sort of navigational buttons to have move the cursor along sentences and paragraphs.
He will be putting me in touch with the educated/working strata of the visually impaired, to get more people involved in testing.
One another interesting feedback he gave, was that, we should charge a decent price for this device, as it is useful to the visually impaired, and needs to be respected. He gave me examples of some other products that had been abused because they were being given out for free.
10/23/2017 at 14:16 •
10/20/2017 at 15:29 •
I've been getting amazing feedback about Tipo from all around the world! People seem to be really excited about this, and I underestimated its impact initially. Its is amazing to know that something like this isnt already in the market!
Some of the things that came up in feedback:
1) Faster typing by directly switching between characters, instead of leaving all buttons.
Currently, one will need to leave all the buttons after pressing a button combination to register a character. Apparently, in modern braille typewriters, you can just go from one combination to another, without letting go of all the keys. This would effectively double the speed of typing. This was highlightened during some of the initial testing we did as well.
It might be a challenge to implement on the code, getting the timing of the button combination presses right, but is a great challenge and goal to work towards. If anyone has ideas, please pitch in!
2) incorporating grade 2 and grade 3 braille for faster typing.
There are a number of different versions of Braille:
- Uncontracted or Grade 1, which consists of the 26 standard letters of the alphabet and punctuation. It is only used by people who are first starting to read Braille.
- Contracted or Grade 2, which consists of the 26 standard letters of the alphabet, punctuation and contractions. The contractions are employed to save space because a Braille page cannot fit as much text as a standard printed page. Books, signs in public places, menus, and most other Braille materials are written in Contracted Braille.
- Grade 3, which is used mainly in personal letters, diaries, and notes, and also in literature to a limited extent. It is a kind of shorthand, with entire words shortened to a few letters. There is no official standard for this version of Braille.
The next step would be to at-least include grade-2 braille in the firmware.
3) Vibration motors under each button to help in Braille training
For someone who has gone blind, vs born blind, learning braille can he an effort. Tipo can function as a braille training assistant as well. Using vibration motors under the individual buttons, individuals can learn braille as well.
10/15/2017 at 17:30 •
Second prototype of the braille keyboard. My braille is a little rusty, but i'm sure someone experienced in braille can type twice as fast.
By setting "Talk Back" to ON in the accessibility settings, you can get the phone to repeat what you type
10/14/2017 at 12:39 •
Its time to put it all Together! I will posting a better "how-to" in the instructions section after the project is done. I will be just covering instructions on assembly here.
1) Silicone button pads
The parts I ordered from Ali-express didn't arrive on time, so i had to resort to desperate measures. I broke open a calculator, and salvages its button pads.
2) Cutting and alignment:
I cut the silicone pads into small section to git on to the small form factor, and not come in between some of the passive electronics on the PCB.
The buttons have projects on them that align with depressions on the silicone pads. In case you have a different SKU of silicone button pads, you might need to change the CAD files of the buttons I have uploaded for best results.
The PCB should align along with the pads, thanks to my mastery in CAD ;P
Close the other half of the clamp-shell.