For persons with Blindness, Braille has been a crucial medium for information access. Braille is printed on thick paper increasing the size of a book by approximately 42 times in comparison to its corresponding normal print book. On the other hand, we now have Refreshable Braille note takers that are portable electronic devices (like computer) that can display 10 to 80 characters of Braille at a time. Basically they have Braille cells which are controlled electronically to display the content of a e-text file

These note takers are highly portable, can be connected to computer and mobile phones, pen drive etc. Persons with blindness use them for note taking, browsing internet, reading books, emails etc. For persons with deaf blindness, they are actually the only interface for access to computers and mobile etc. as they cannot use audio interface. However, use of such note takers is not at all common in countries like India simply because of their lack of affordability,  with their starting costs being around two lakh and more.

The researchers at IIT Delhi have developed an innovative technology that can significantly bring down the cost of the Electronic Braille cells. Saksham has collaborated with IIT Delhi and Industry partners (Phoenix Medical Systems and Kritikal solutions) under an ongoing project funded by Welcomm Trust UK to develop an affordable 20 cell and a 40 cell braille note taker called DotBook20P and DotBook40Q. The 20 cell DotBook has Perkin’s brailler type  keypad, whereas, the 40 cell DotBook has a full qwerty keyboard for typing.

Saksham team led user connect has been an integral part of the development process. Direct user interaction at every stage including problem identification, design feedback and prototype validation, has not only motivated and driven the process, but kept it pointed towards the right direction as well.

The following have been the key roles of Saksham under this project: