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DEVELOPMENT OF A LOW-COST INTERACTIVE GRAPHICAL TACTILE DISPLAY CAPABLE OF DISPLAYING TEXTUAL AND GRAPHICAL INFORMATION AS ADVANCED USER INTERFACE FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED (TACMON)
Start date: 01 Nov 2008, End date: 31 Oct 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The aim of the TACMON proposal is to increase SME competitive advantage in the special needs sector by offering an innovative and cost-effective technology to help the visually impaired to have access to graphical and text-oriented information. The TACMON technology is innovative in that it applies electrostatic MEMS actuator technologies with a micro hydraulic amplitude transmission to realize a large matrix of tactile dots using cost-effective bath-processing technologies. There are 7.4 million visually impaired people in the European Union. High unemployment amongst the disabled is a serious social and economic problem for the EU, as continued exclusion from productive activity requires increasing state-funded support for social programs. There is a need for effective assistive technology to facilitate employment of the visually impaired and for industry to better be able to meet anti-discrimination legislation. Furthermore, the EU is investing heavily in e-learning to modernize education and training, but locking out the visually impaired since information and communication technologies are heavily oriented to visual user interfaces. The EU must quickly address the needs of sector SMEs that provide technological solutions for the disabled, as there is a continuous competitive threat from both foreign companies and large enterprises. TACMON offers SMEs an innovative technology targeting an interactive graphical tactile display and user interface for the visually impaired to access electronic information. TACMON technology can contribute to the creation of new business opportunities in software for learning, leisure, communicating via Internet, among many others for the disabled community. The TACMON product responds to important market demands in industry, education and other sectors that lack appropriate inclusive technology adaptable to meet the needs of their visually impaired clients.
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