A project that saw a prototype form some five years back is finally nearing commercialization, as ELIA Life Technology has recently been licensed to bring a tactile graphic display device and fingertip graphic reader to market. Originally developed by NIST researchers, the aforementioned screen enables individuals to feel an array of images on a reusable surface by raising around 3,600 actuator points into a certain pattern, each of which can be sent electronically to the reader. Separately, a finger-based device utilizes 100 minuscule pins that can be activated as a person scans a given surface, which enables the pins to move across one's skin as it "translates" the text / image / etc. Regrettably, a concrete release date wasn't mentioned, but judging by the looks of it, it shouldn't be long now before it's widely available to those interested.

[Via Coolest-Gadgets]

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ELIA Life to roll out tactile displays for the visually impaired