Katie Cagen, an electrical engineer at Microsoft and Class of 2014 Harvard Alumni, has invented a device called Ferrotouch to help enhance the technology experience for the visually impaired. The device is tactile display technology that uses elctromagnetically actuated materials to create “refreshable Braille”.
Traditional Braille machines use pins to display a changing message however, Ferrotouch uses electromagnets that have been arranged under a layer of ferrofluid. The magnets influence the ferrofluid to form bumps that can be felt through a an elastic layer. This creates a touch experience for interpreting content that cannot be accessed by the visually impaired using current available technologies. The pixels in the Ferrotouch device are capable of displaying almost any shape helping the visually impaired to interpret complex content such as charts, graphs, and more.
Learn more about Cagen’s capstone project and the reasons behind her invention!