Innovation in Micro Actuators and Big Data Technology Transform Visually Impaired Daily Life Activities and Improve Their Access to Information Technology Resources

Mahmoud Shafik


It is indeed very alarming when we learn that every five seconds one person in the world goes blind. 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide. 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision, 90% of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries. This blind and visually impaired community Tactile and Braille is the most efficient possible way to read, write and interact with latest information technology resources. There are many outstanding efforts have been done on previous decades to improve this community quality of life. This paper presents the current state of the art of the current micro actuators technology and its latest development for visually impaired information technology access application. It is also presents innovative tactile graphical display using electro rheological fluid micro actuators for the visually impaired people information technology (IT) access application. The display consists of 124x4 dots.  Each dot is a micro electro rheological fluid actuator. The micro-actuator is designed based on linear vertical movement principles. An   advanced   software   tools   and embedded system based on voltage matrix manipulation are developed, to provide the graphical display near real time control. The actuator design and development process and software control tools is presented in this paper. Prototype size 124x4 dots, on a matrix form, of 2.54mm pitch, was manufactured. The experimental tests carried out into the prototype showed a close agreement with the standard criteria of Tactile Braille applications. The stroke and dynamic time response test showed the practicability of the developed graphical tactile display, for visually impaired IT access applications.


Electro Rheological Fluid Actuator, Micro Actuator, Tactile Graphical Display, Visually Impaired IT Applications, Visually Impaired Display

Full Text:



Fisher H. , Trapp R., Hofman B., “actuator array for use in minimal invasive surgery“, in proc. ACTUATOR 96, pp.383-387, 1996

Atherton P. D. and Uchino K., “New development in piezo motor and mechanisms”, Proc. ACTUATOR 98, pp. 164-169, 1998

Kohl, S. Durr, E. Just and D. Pirck, “Development of electrorheological micro actuators”, Proc. ACTUATOR 98, pp. 430-433, 1998

Fricke and H. Baehring, “Design of a tactile graphic I/O tablet and its integration into the personal computer system for blind users”, Proc. EASI High Resolution Tactile Graphic Conference, 1994

Yobas L., Lisy F. J., Schmidt R. N., Huff M. A., “A pneumatically actuated tactile display unit utilizing MEMS microactuators” Biomedical Engineering Society 1998 Annual Fall Meeting, 1998

Hata S., Kato T., Fukushige T., Shimokobe A., “ Integrated conical spring linear actuator“, Microelectronic Engineering 67-68, pp.574-581, 2003

Fricke J., “Different approaches to large tactile screens suitable for graphics”, IEE Colloquium on development in tactile displays, No. 1997/012, pp. 6/1-6/3, 1993

Taylor P. M., Pollet D. M. Hosseini-Sianaki A., and Varley C. J., “Advances in an electrorheological fluid based tactile display”, Displays 18, pp.135-141, Elsevier Science, 1998

Moy G., Wagner C., Fearing R. S., “A compliant tactile display for teleaction”, Proceeding of IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pp. 3409-3415, San Francisco, USA, 2000

Moy G., Singh U., Tan E., and Fearing R. S., “Human psychophysics for teleaction system design”, Haptic-e: The Electronic Journal of Haptics Research, 2000

Block, H. et al, ”Materials and mechanisms in electrorheology”, presented at the symposium on ‘Rheology of concentrated dispersion’, Third Chemical Congress of North America, Toronto, 6-14, 1989

Taylor P M, et al, “An electrorheological fluid-based tactile array for virtual environments”, proceedings of the 1996 IEEE, international Conference on Robotics and Automation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 1996

Shafik M., et al, (2005), “Smart Tactile Effecting Graphical Display for Visually Impaired Information Technology Access Applications”, International Conference in Information Technology (ICIT 2005), 19-22 April, American University of Cyprus, Kyrina, Cyprus.

Shafik M., et al, (2005), “An Economical Micro Valve Using Electro Rheological Fluid Technology for Visually Impaired Information Technology Access Application”, International Conference in Information Technology (ICIT 2005), 19-22 April, American University of Cyprus, Kyrina, Cyprus.

Shafik M., (2013), “An Innovative Tactile Interactive Interface Graphical Display for the Visually Impaired Information Technology Access Applications’, International Journal of Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vol. 415, Automatic Control and Mechatronics Engineering II,,©, Switzerland, 2013.

Shafik M., (2013), ‘An Innovative Micro Actuator Using Electro Rheological Fluid Technology For Visually Impaired Tactile Display Information Technology Access Applications‘, ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, San Diego, California, November 15-21, 2013, USA, 2013

Shafik M., & Fekkai S., (2013), ‘ An Innovative Interactive Tactile Interface Graphical Display for the Visually Impaired Information Technology Applications Using Electro Rheological Fluid Technology’, ICMR2013, 16-20 of September 2013, Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK, 2013.

Shafik M. & Fekkai S., (2013), ‘A New Tactile Graphical Display for the Visually Impaired Information Technology Access Applications’, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt, 2-4 of July 2013.

Barlow, F., W., “Rubber compounding: principles, material and techniques”, 2nd ed., Marcel Dekker, Inc, New York, 1993.

Blow, C., M., and Hepburn “Rubber technology and manufacture” 2nded., Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd, Oxford, UK, 1982.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.