Reprogrammable Braille

July 25, 2018

Dimples are formed on an inverted plastic fruit bowl by poking the dimple location with a simple stylus, in much the same way that the pages of a traditional Braille book are printed. [Credit: L. Mahadevan/Harvard SEAS*]

When "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was translated into Braille, it spanned 1,000 pages over 14 volumes of thick Braille paper. Tolstoy’s War and Peace weighs in at 21 volumes. But what if there was a way to store whole books in just a few pages of Braille?

Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a framework to encode memory, in the form of Braille-like dimples and bumps, onto a blank, lattice-free material.

"We show how an otherwise featureless curved elastic shell, when loaded appropriately, can store elastic bits (e-bits) that can be written and erased at will anywhere along the shell," said L. Mahadevan, the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics at SEAS, and Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and of Physics, and an Associate of the Wyss Institute, and the Kavli Institute at Harvard University, and senior author of the study...

Continue reading "Reprogrammable Braille" by Leah Burrows, July 23, 2018.

Also read the original research article:
*Jun Young Chung, Ashkan Vaziri and L. Mahadevan, "Reprogrammable Braille on an elastic shell," PNAS 115 (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1722342115.