Within his project funded by the European Research Council in the framework of the ERC Consolidator Grant CaLA, the NeptunLab will harness novel microfluidic concepts for setting up large-scale tactile displays for the visually impaired.

Regular screens show information using tiny points of light, the pixels. In tactile displays, the pixels are replaced by tangible dots rising out of the surface – known as taxels. They are small pins which are moved mechanically representing the dots which can be read hapitcally.

However, tactile display technology is far less developed and far more expensive than visual screens sighted people. This is primarily because of the relatively complex production of such systems and the relatively small amount of novel concepts in recent decades. Currently, the systems with the highest resolutions costs nearly 50,000 euros and offer only very limited resolution. In fact, the best resolution is only a fraction of the number of pixels on an early-90’s Nintendo Gameboy.

We plan to use the ERC Grant to develop concepts for taxels which will make them far cheaper and thus pave the way to portable systems.

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