On the Media had a very interesting interview about the drop in Braille usage from 50% of the blind to merely 10%. It gave me an idea.
Would it be helpful if the blind had a device built into computers, or attachable via USB or whatever, that had eight fingerpads (or maybe ten, with the thumb ones along the bottom) each of which could form a Braille character? Instead of running their fingers across a strip of Braille characters, the computer would create a burst of 8 (or 10) characters simultaneously, on a timed tick the speed of which the user could of course control. So, instead of reading by getting the letters one at a time, you would get them 8 (or 10) at a time. Might this speed up the reading of Braille?
It seems closer to how we actually read: In word-sized clumps, not letter by letter. So, to provide words as Gestalts, this finger-tip Braille display could in each tick present as many words as can be presented in 8 characters; words of more than 8 characters would be presented in as many ticks as it takes, with perhaps a slight change in tempo or an auditory cue to let the user know that the word is not yet complete. But, all of that is just software.
I did a quick patent search at Google Patent and didn’t immediately find anything. Is that because this is not a good idea? Or am I just bad at searching for patents?