Products Currently Under Development

ELIA Touch Printer

With the ELIA Touch Printer, a person will be able to print tactile fonts and graphics including ELIA FRAMES™ and braille at any size with the ELIA Touch Printer. In our effort to address the needs of the market as soon as possible, the initial product will connect to Windows and MacOS via USB.  We will provide connectivity via Wi-Fi and bluetooth in version 2.0 of the printer.

Tactile Display

With the ELIA Tactile Display, a person will be able to instantly download books, tactile graphics and text and access it anywhere. With upwards of 10,000 pins (compared to current products that offer a maximum of 640 pins to display 80 braille cells), it will be capable of displaying and augmenting tactile images. The display will be capable of interactivity - the user will be able to draw new lines, read tactilely, listen with text to speech, or use finger swipes, taps, gestures or voice commands to interact and navigate information.

 

This is a concept sketch of the Elia touch printer for illustration purposes only.

A study of high school biology textbooks found an average of roughly one photo every two pages, one diagram every five pages, and one naturalistic drawing every five pages.
Pozzer, L. L., & Roth, W.M. (2003)

Pozzer, L. L., & Roth, W.M. (2003). Prevalence, function, and structure of photographs in high school biology textbooks. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40(10), 1089-1114

So, what is the current state of the art production method for tactile graphics? 

“To create effective tactile graphics, tools such as leather punches, protractors, and tracing wheels are used, in addition to sheets of aluminum foil, which are used to create masters for raised-line drawings.”  - American Printing House for the Blind

What an incredibly frustrating status quo! It is no wonder that successful students with a visual impairment do not pursue graphically intensive STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects, and that many of the students fail to thrive in our school systems. And what are mainstream teachers to do? They have one hand tied behind their backs due to the lack of seamless tactile graphical production technology.  

The ELIA Touch Printer could be used in a classroom to make drawings and diagrams instantly tactile, or to print pages from a textbook or the internet in tactile form.  The new Tactile Display, which would have the computing power of an iPad or tablet device, could make all of the printer’s benefits portable, accessible and interactive.  

Imagine tackling the following tasks without the printer, and then imagine how much simpler they would be with tactile graphical information.  

Education

Math Class - Learning mathematical symbols, multiplication tables, long division, fractions, formulas and equations, shapes and geometry, and diagrams that support math problems.
Science Class - Biology (parts of the cell, anatomy, DNA structure), earth science and geology, chemistry (molecular shapes, the periodic table), astronomy, physics, engineering, experimental design.
History Class - Geography, historic photos, monuments, flags and coats of arms, nautical and military drawings.
Art Class - Drawing, art history, art appreciation
Sports - Play diagrams, field configurations, score cards, statistics tables, rankings

Mobility

Maps for mass transit, amusement parks, shopping centers, trail maps, building diagrams, space shuttle maps, cruise ship maps, campus maps, museum maps, zoo and garden maps, road maps for tandem biking, directions.

Health Care

Discharge instructions, medication labels, anatomical diagrams, test results, charts, sonograms and other diagnostic images (e.g. MRI, X-Ray, CT Scan).

Leisure

Museums - Maps, brochures, representations, audio / tactile tours
Reading - Newspapers, novels, magazines, poetry
Sports - Play diagrams, field configurations, score cards, statistics tables, rankings

Workplace and Government

Reading industry reports and trade publications, spreadsheets, charts and graphs, diagrams, presentation notes, forms, invoices, labeling files, labeling control panels, supplies and kitchen items.

Independent Living

Labeling in the kitchen (spices, canned goods, frozen foods), clothing, cleaning supplies, control panels, toy bins, medicine cabinet drawers, power and charger cords.

With the advances in 3D printing technology, the time is ripe for innovation in the field of tactile graphics production.
Dan Periard, ELIA Systems Engineer

Please let us know if you have ideas about how you might use the ELIA Touch Printer or ELIA Tactile Display at info@theeliaidea.com

Funding Partners

Funding for our research has been provided by foundations, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), the NYSTAR Small Business Technology Jumpstart Program, and from private individuals.

Initial basic research funding was provided by the Langeloth Foundation and the State University of New York Research Foundation. Subsequent product and curriculum development funding was provided NYSTAR and the Small Business Innovation Research Grant programs of NIH (the National Eye Institute and the National Institute on Aging) and NIST.

Roughly $450,000 in angel investments seeded the development of the earliest stages of our work, and helped us attract roughly $2.7 million in research support from the above institutions.

Research Partners

ELIA Life Technology has a number of research partners that it collaborates with closely: