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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2010;2010:5827-30. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2010.5627501.

Electrocutaneous stimulation system for Braille reading.

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Gabinete de Tecnología Médica, Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina.


This work is an assistive technology for people with visual disabilities and aims to facilitate access to written information in order to achieve better social inclusion and integration into work and educational activities. Two methods of electrical stimulation (by current and voltage) of the mechanoreceptors was tested to obtain tactile sensations on the fingertip. Current and voltage stimulation were tested in a Braille cell and line prototype, respectively. These prototypes are evaluated in 33 blind and visually impaired subjects. The result of experimentation with both methods showed that electrical stimulation causes sensations of touch defined in the fingertip. Better results in the Braille characters reading were obtained with current stimulation (85% accuracy). However this form of stimulation causes uncomfortable sensations. The latter feeling was minimized with the method of voltage stimulation, but with low efficiency (50% accuracy) in terms of identification of the characters. We concluded that electrical stimulation is a promising method for the development of a simple and unexpensive Braille reading system for blind people. We observed that voltage stimulation is preferred by the users. However, more experimental tests must be carry out in order to find the optimum values of the stimulus parameters and increase the accuracy the Braille characters reading.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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