Tuesday, May 16, 2006.
ViewPlus Technologies today announced the release of Emprint(TM), the world's first Braille printer that embosses Braille with the equivalent color ink. The ability to print Braille and ink in a single-pass will allow people with visual impairments and sighted people to communicate more effectively in the classroom and workplace.
As more Braille readers join the mainstream, the need for communication between sighted and blind people grows. Emprint(TM) allows Braille documents to be shared amongst sighted colleagues and teachers by printing the corresponding ink characters above or beside the Braille.
Anything that is seen on a computer screen is printed quickly in Braille and color ink, together or separately. People who are blind can print Braille for their personal use and an ink version for their sighted colleagues. Using a single printer saves them valuable workspace and money.
"With our limited resources and space, a printer that doubles as both a Braille printer and typical ink printer is the perfect solution," states Jerry Kuns, a technology coordinator at the California School for the Blind. "More than anything I like the fact that Emprint(TM) creates raised, color graphics usable by all our students."
People with low-vision and others who may not read Braille can also use the tactile and ink features for better comprehension of spatial material.
Adding color to a raised image makes materials, like tactile maps or diagrams, more engaging for low-vision and learning disabled students.
Studies have shown that a combined tactile and visual/color interface makes a stronger connection with the brain than vision alone, improving the learning process.
Emprint(TM) uses the familiar interface of Microsoft Office to create Braille and ink documents that can be printed in a single pass. Braille text can be printed in a wide variety of languages. Ink text can be printed in any size, color or font the user chooses. Tactile graphics, like maps and bar charts, are printed with raised lines and color ink. The height of raised lines and objects is determined by their visual equivalent: the darker the color or shade, the higher the relief in that area.
The ink cartridges and paper used in the printer can be found at any local office supply store. The types of paper can range from normal copy paper to traditional-weight Braille paper. Emprint(TM) retails for US$5995 and includes: printer, ink and Braille translation software.
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