NewHaptics gets NSF grant for Braille tactile display

ANN ARBOR–The tactile display developer NewHpatics announced that it had been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation.

This $1 million SBIR grant is the fourth SBIR award received by NewHaptics to date and supports the company’s continued progress towards delivering a multiline refreshable braille display for the blind at an accessible price point.

This assistive technology will enable increased access to braille in digital form and enable blind people to read and interact with digitized spatial content, including mathematical equations, graphs, and maps. It supports NewHaptics’ mission to improve information access for people who are blind and enable them to reach information parity with their sighted counterparts, particularly in the STEM fields.

The device, along with its supporting software, will help remove barriers to collaboration in classrooms and workplaces and in document preparation in the workplace. Achieving this will increase braille literacy, create opportunities to enter careers in STEM, and ultimately help support the employment success and independence of people who are blind.

NewHaptics has its roots in the affectionately named “Holy Braille Project” funded in part by the National Science Foundation that focused on developing novel technology to enable the creation of a large-area tactile display for the blind. Since spinning off from the University of Michigan in 2018, NewHaptics has raised funding from federal and state grants to support research and development.

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