The World’s First Tablet for Blind People

Blitab is similar to an e-book, but uses liquid-based technology to create small, physical bubbles that rise and fall on the surface on demand to display the necessary text or graphics.

When Louis Braille invented the Braille system in the 1820s, it became a fundamental tool for literacy for the millions of blind and visually impaired people in the world. Unfortunately, these people have been left out of the digital revolution. Smartphones, tablets, and e-books remain inaccessible and mostly useless to the 285 million blind and visually impaired. 


Blitab, a Vienna-based startup founded by three Bulgarians, is now bringing the tablet experience to blind and visually impaired people. The device is similar to an e-book, but uses liquid-based technology to create small, physical bubbles that rise and fall on the surface on demand to display the necessary text or graphics. The best part is that the user can insert a USB stick or a memory card with various types of text documents, such as a Word .doc or PDF and Blitlab will convert and display them in Braille. It can do the same with web pages and digital maps. In addition, the user can write and edit pages via Braille Perkins keyboard.

"Currently there are some solutions which are extremely expensive and they represent only one line [of braille]," says Slavi Slavev, one of the co-founders. "These devices were developed 40 years ago and because no one has offered any new innovations since then, that's still all that's on the market. ... [Blitab] is revolutionary and we want to solve a great issue, and that's the literacy of blind people. The technology is quite scalable so we can output images and put any tactile relief representation like maps and graphics, such as geometric figures, in order to serve as an educational tool for blind people."

Blitab has won various awards so far and has attracted interest from institutions like the Royal National Institute for the Blind in the UK, but is currently still in the prototype stage with a tentative plan to launch the product in 2016. The team is looking for developers, testers, distributors, and investors. If you want to help out, you can contact the team here

Photo: BLITAB

A still from the film "We Became Fragments" by Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller, part of the Global Oneness Project library.

Photo: Luisa Conlon , Lacy Roberts and Hanna Miller / Global Oneness Project
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
  • Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
  • Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Keep reading Show less

The Universe Shouldn’t Exist, CERN Scientists Announce

BASE particle physicists have discovered a very precise way to examine antimatter.

The Veil Nebula. Credit: By Jschulman555 - Own work, Wikipedia Commons.
Surprising Science

Thank your lucky stars you’re alive. It’s truly a miracle of nature. This has nothing to do with spirituality or religion and everything to do with science. Life itself may not be the miracle. Although we haven’t found it elsewhere yet, our galaxy alone is so replete with Earth-like planets that, mathematically speaking, one of them must hold life, even if it’s just the microbial variety. Intelligent life may be another matter.

Keep reading Show less

Ashamed over my mental illness, I realized drawing might help me – and others – cope

Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.

Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.

Keep reading Show less

Sexual activity linked to higher cognitive function in older age

A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.

The results of this one-of-a-kind study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men.
Image by Lightspring on Shutterstock
Mind & Brain
  • A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
  • The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
  • The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…