Could this easy-to-learn tactile typeface replace braille?

Braille, the tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired, helps transform life for people who are unable to see. It allows them to read information in books and magazines and, thanks to technologies like refreshable braille displays, on computers. However, not everyone is able to learn braille. Originated in 1824, the language wasn’t designed for ease of use, but rather around the technological capabilities of the tools of its day.

Entrepreneur Andrew Chepaitis discovered just how difficult braille can be when his grandmother lost her vision and was unable to pick up the new language. Working with his mother, a student of human factors design, Chepaitis went on to develop a new font which, he claims, is significantly easier to learn. Rather than taking months at a time to learn, Chepaitis’ ELIA Frames font can reportedly be learned in just a few hours. According to Chepaitis, after 5 to 11 years of learning braille, readers have an average reading speed of 23 words per minute. With ELIA, a person can achieve 25 words per minute after just 60 hours of study.

“We customized the standard alphabet for tactile reading,” he told Digital Trends. “It is raised print, optimized for a specific use case. We set about applying best practices from the field of human factors design to the standard alphabet. But standard alphabet letters weren’t made for tactile reading, so we pushed the basic elements of each letter to the edges of a given space by using a frame. We then added the core elements of the letters to the interior of the frame, and iteratively tested letter designs to identify what is easiest to feel.”

Chepaitis said that his ELIA Frames font could be used to help the roughly 8.4 million people in the U.S. and 284 million people worldwide who have a visual impairment. The ELIA Frames font can be added to a computer font library like Times New Roman, Helvetica or Arial. Going forward, the plan is to develop a commercial printer thath can print ELIA Frames documents.

To raise money, the team is currently hosting a Kickstarter campaign. While we offer all our usual warnings about the risks of crowdfunding campaigns, if you do want to get involved, a $25 pledge will (hopefully) secure you an ELIA Frames silicone overlay for your keyboard. Larger amounts will get you a learning starter kit or classroom kit. Shipping is set for September 2018.

Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.

Don't keep typing the same thing -- learn to copy and paste with these shortcuts!

Looking for useful Windows keyboard shortcuts? The most common are the cut, copy, paste and undo shortcuts compatible with all kinds of tasks. They can save you an awful lot of time if you learn how to use them.

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Movies & TV

'Stranger Things' season 3 teaser reveals the new episodes' titles

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.