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NIST’s Refreshable Braille Reader

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Laboratory: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Technology: Refreshable Braille Reader

Opportunity: This NIST technology is currently available for licensing.

Details: As the first major refreshable Braille reading device created by NIST, this technology is comprised of a rotating-wheel with rows of openings for retractable pins. The wheel contains endless rows of openings defined through the display surface, a pin held in each opening and freely moveable therein. Actuators are held at a static location relative to the wheel for selectively moving pins in the rows so that Braille characters are arrayed at the display surface after passing the static location. The Braille characters are streamed across the reading aperture of the housing.

Benefits: The refreshable Braille reader is low-cost, and has a simple design that can be applied to various mediums. 

Potential Applications:

  • E-books
  • Various print media 

Contact: For more information about the NIST refreshable Braille reader, contact Jack Pevenstein in NIST’s Technology Partnerships Office at

To view the original NIST technology fact sheet, visit