The Braille Project Wins ASC V!

Last Monday I presented my Braille display project to a local thinktank/incubator group, The Awesome Sh*t Club, during their fifth event. ASC V is a group of forward-thinking people who pool money together and then use it to fund local projects, ideally ‘awesome’ ones – think “Dragon’s Den”, but altruistic instead of predatory.

In my case, I presented before 10 judges the current state of the Braille Display Project, as well as my hopes for the future:

  • Braille devices for easy Internet access for every blind person.
  • Low-cost design anyone can afford, especially in third-world countries.
  • Open source design to spur others to design better versions.
  • More options = lower costs for devices as competition increases.

I think I got my message across, because I won the award for the event – $500 to reinvest in my project. For me, that means more stepper motors and drivers, as well as necessary tools and supplies to do more with the design (for example, a small metal bending tool called a brake, and more Acrylic sheeting). I’ve already started ordering parts, and look forward to testing out variations of designs this month, as well as into the new year.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the judges for the chance to pitch and their approval, as well as to the audience in general – many of them were extremely supportive, and came up after the event to learn more about the device. All in, it was not just the winning but the feedback from the people there that helped spur on the project and make the night eventful for me. Thanks again!

If you’re someone with a ‘awesome idea, I heartily recommend checking them out. The next one is in February, and they limit to 10 ideas per meeting, which means you have a reasonable chance of getting your ideas across. Even if you don’t win, you get to be heard, and that can help a project along.

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2 thoughts on “The Braille Project Wins ASC V!

  1. Congratulations on that award.

    You might want to consider using USB instead of serial connection as many of the new computers do not have serial ports.

    Have you contacted your local CNIB and othrer organizations that deal with the blind to see if they can assist with funding?

    As for netbook, what specs do you require in a netbook?

    • The device actually uses USB, since the processing is done with an Arduino micro controller, which has built-in USB. However, the port appears in Windows/Linux as a serial port (it’s also programmed that way), so compatibility is not a big issue. As for contacting the CNIB, that sounds like a good idea, although I’d like to have the device farther along before then. And as for a netbook, just about any computer should do, depending on the software running; for example, running Linux in text mode and talking to the device via the brltty driver should be easy with any computer, even a slow netbook or a decade old pentium. Of course, running Windows or graphical Linux will add its own layer, and that could slow an older computer or netbook down too much to use.

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