In braille, a character is made up of six dots laid out on a two by three matrix -- not something that can really be conveyed using capacitive touchscreen technology. Working with a Nokia 770
Internet Tablet, researchers in Finland have developed a method for piezoelectric touchscreen devices that uses a single pulse of intense vibration to convey a raised dot, and a longer vibration made up of several weaker pulses to represent a missing dot -- spelling out letters that can be easily read by touch. It took a while for volunteers to get used to this method, but once they had they were able to read a character in as little as 1.25 seconds. Now that they have letters down, the team is moving on to words and sentences -- with an eye towards developing text-to-braille software sometime in the future.