A new computer mouse has been created so that blind users can use it to navigate through text and even pictures on their personal computers.
The mouse, called the Tactile Explorer, replaces the standard clicking buttons of a regular mouse with two, four by four pin pads. When the cursor is passed over text or the outline of a picture, the two pin pads create either Braille letters or a segment of the outline for the user to follow. As the user continually drags the mouse across text, the letters pop up against the user’s fingers, enabling them to read them in Braille. For example, if you moved the cursor over the word “magazine,” when it touched the M, a Braille M would pop up on the left pin pad. As you moved the cursor to the right, a Braille A would pop up on the right pin pad. As you continue to move the cursor, the A would shift to the left pin pad and the G would pop up on the right and so on, until the end of the word “magazine.”
Text is not its only trick, though. It also allows the user to feel graphics with the same pin pads that produced Braille text. In a demonstration, it was shown that someone could move the cursor over a map and experience what the shape of India is. No other peripheral exists with this kind of technology.
This new mouse has some serious potential as a teaching aid for children and also as a tool for regular computer users. What’s also beneficial is that it can be taken anywhere and used on any computer as long as the software is installed.
While the mouse is still in the final stages of its testing, the company, Techshare, hopes that they will be able to release this model to the public in the second half of this year.
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