Bed Access Reading Bot (B.A.R.B.): The Future of the Book

Bed Access Reading Bot (B.A.R.B.) Proposal: Eye-Tracking Reading Device for the Physically Handicapped

My aunt, Barbara, suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease—also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Due to this disease she has lost all motor function, meaning she is quadriplegic. Basic functions that many of us take for granted—such as: showering oneself, wiping one’s eyes, scratching one’s arm, and even talking—are not available to some people with ALS. For the most part, many of the bigger problems quadriplegics face have been circumvented. My aunt’s nurse-assistant, for example, bathes her, flips through the channels for her, feeds her, etc. As far as communicating, there are two main options for my aunt: alphabet boards and Augmentative/Alternative communication devices (AAC). These advancements solve many problems, but there are still many that need to be addressed.

Research shows that patients that suffer from ALS are also at risk of suffering from depression:

Patients reported high communicative abilities, comparable to caregivers, while   their supposition without the ETCS was significantly worse. (K. Linse, 259)

Lack of a social life and inability to participate in leisurely activities are the main causes of this depression in ALS-sufferers. Because of the physical aspect of ALS, it is easy to overlook the psychological impact. It took me, for instance, several visits to see my aunt Barbara before thinking: “How does she have fun?” and “How does she cope with not being able to do the things she used to do?” My aunt has always been an intelligent person; so seeing her not being able to put her mind to use is saddening for me.

B.A.R.B. is here to give back fun and some sense of autonomy to people like my aunt. Essentially, B.A.R.B. is an E-Reader that functions similarly to AAC devices that utilize eye-tracking technology. The purpose of B.A.R.B. is to allow quadriplegics to read without needing any assistance. Having watched my aunt and her nurse-assistant, I can say there are a lot of nuances that even nurse-assistants cannot solve easily. Think about everything it takes for you to read a book. As an able-bodied person you can stop reading when you want; you can dog-ear pages; you can take notes; you can reread pages, etc. Could you imagine doing these things without being able to move? Could you imagine how difficult it would be to tell your nurse to do these tasks for you if you are unable to talk? It would be impossible.

With B.A.R.B., healthcare providers and hospitals will be able to improve the mental wellbeing of their quadriplegic patients. Rather than just having TV to watch, patients will be able to entertain themselves and feed their minds with books of their choice. Healthcare providers and hospitals that implement B.A.R.B. early on will be attractive to customers and patients who have not been able to find such thoughtful and personalized technology elsewhere. Eventually, the goal is for healthcare providers and hospitals nationwide to take advantage of what B.A.R.B. has to offer. Being as though this technology eases the burden of nurse-assistants and gives patients autonomy, it is inevitable that B.A.R.B. will be everywhere.

As I stated earlier, B.A.R.B. is the synthesis of two already established technologies: the E-reader and AAC eye-tracking devices. E-readers were a temporary craze, yet they were fundamentally ahead of their time. The reason, I believe, E-readers lost their popularity was due to misreading the market. Avid readers, for the most part, have a hard time parting with their beloved books—the smell of them, the page turning, etc. Therefore, it was easy for traditional books to reclaim their throne from E-readers. But the E-reader’s features have potential to be the ideal product for the quadriplegic user once merged with hands-off and easy-to-use eye-tracking technology. Virtually all the E-reader’s features—such as: page turning, book marking, highlighting, note making, and word searching—will be in tact, yet rather than being accessible by touch, these features will be accessible through eye-movement.

After the initial installation of B.A.R.B. the user will go through a set-up process (choose language, font size, etc.) that will get them accustomed to the eye-gaze technology. The most crucial component of B.A.R.B. is the eye-reading camera that is mounted on top of the monitor. This camera reads eye movement and translates it into an action. Once the user is prompted by something on the screen they will have the option to stare at it—which the camera reads—until an hourglass icon turns over; once the hourglass is completely overturned the option is chosen. An example of this would be if the user were prompted with a “Yes” or “No” question. If the user wants to choose “Yes”, he/she will stare at the “Yes” option for 5 seconds (length of time for hourglass to turn).

Similarly, any action the user wants to take will be decided by a 5-second stare. The user will be able to access the menu option on the side of the screen this way as well. The menu will allow the user to choose/search another book or log out. Also on the side of the screen there will be an icon called “toolbox”, which will allow the user to make the actions listed earlier (highlight, word search, etc.). Neither the menu option nor the “toolbox” icons will obstruct the reading screen until they are chosen. Aside from the text itself the only icons that will stand out are the arrow buttons on either side of the text. These arrow buttons—which also function off the 5-second stare period (number of seconds can be changed)—allow the user to go forward or backward in the book.

Watch “Eyegaze communication in action”

B.A.R.B. will be available for healthcare providers, hospitals, and the loved ones of the user. Being as though our bigger markets will be the healthcare providers and hospitals, I have designed marketing campaigns specifically for them. For the healthcare campaign there will be a nationwide tour in which B.A.R.B. will visit research labs. These research lab events showcase the newest and most beneficial advancements in healthcare. The first reveal will be held at the Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD. Over the year, B.A.R.B. will attend several of these events, as labs are located in every state. At these events, healthcare representatives will be given a chance to test out B.A.R.B. They may find that despite being able-bodied, they might want B.A.R.B. for themselves! Near the end of the year, B.A.R.B. will be taken to the Healthcare Design expo in Orlando, FL. This annual event is the one I am most excited for, as it is the big daddy of all healthcare expos. Researchers, educators, nurses, and medical planners are among the many influencers who will get to experience B.A.R.B.

B.A.R.B.’s campaign to get into hospitals may prove a little more difficult as hospitals—like classrooms—do not seem to change much over time. However, I am confident that hospitals associated with higher education, such as Johns Hopkins University, will be more open to cutting-edge technology since they are tasked with preparing the world’s future doctors. Introducing B.A.R.B. to university-linked hospitals will be the first step in getting into every hospital into America, and hopefully the world.

So what’s the future of B.A.R.B.? I think text was the most logical start. After all, that technology already exists (E-readers) and simply had to be merged with eye-gaze technology in order to come alive. The next logical step is to introduce visuals—as in television and movies—which can run smoothly alongside the menu and tool features.

Works Cited

“About The Show.” hcdexpo. N.p., 2017. Web.

Beukelman, David R., and Pat Mirenda. Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Supporting Children and Adults with Complex Communication Needs, Fourth Edition. Fourth Edition. Brookes Publishing, 2013. Web.

Linse, K. et al. “EP 47. Direct Assessment of Psychosocial Measures Using Eye Tracking Technology in Advanced ALS – Can Preserved Autonomy and Psychological Wellbeing Modify Disease Course?” Clinical Neurophysiology 127.9 (2016): 258–259. Web. All-New Kindle E-Reader Review – 8th Generation – 2016 Model. N.p., 2016. Film.

The PACE Centre. Eyegaze Communication in Action. N.p., 2009. Film.

“Welcome to AACFUNDINGHELP.COM.” SGD Funding Solutions from Assistive Technology Law Center. N.p., Nov. 2006. Web.












The Smart Bookmark

Ryan Roche

ENG 381-01

The Smart Bookmark


In a world filled with distractions, complex assignments and mixed media, there needs to be a way to simplify the reading, studying and learning process. In an effort to smoothly integrate books with computers and people, the Smart Book will allow for information from physical texts to be easily stored, analyzed, transferred and shared using digital means. Readers will be able to know that they saved important, interesting or required information for later use, without the stress or hassle of interrupting the flow of their reading.

The Smart Bookmark will be intended to aid in this streamlining and organizing of the reading process. Students will be able to highlight, note, save, lookup and share key parts of both their required and personal readings quickly and easily. Teachers will be able to approve of it, students will enjoy using it, parents will have no problem buying it and the face of education will be positively changed forever. Though other features may eventually be added in, the tool will remain to true to its purpose, to help keep the attention of readers where it belongs, in the reading.


When first launched, the primary audience for the Smart Bookmark will be college students, scholars and other recreational as well as professional bibliophiles. It will initially be a tool geared for the serious reader or academic. My invention is fairly niche, but as its popularity grows, price drops and potential is realized by the masses, it will have a much wider mainstream appeal. I envision online communities and forums popping up to allow users to help each other take full advantage of the Smart Bookmark and its features, as well as adding to them.

Early adopters will be a major secondary audience to target, especially at the Smart Bookmark’s time of launch. People willing to give new and radically different technology a try may even be sought out and given a Smart Bookmark in exchange for a review or article discussing the product. Teachers and professors are another secondary audience to target. The Smart Bookmark will be introduced to them at conferences and conventions where demo’s, seminars and sample lesson plans will be available.

Technical specifications (what products are you modeling this on, how will the user interface with the product, and include a mock-up/prototype)

Using military grade nanotechnology, OCR software and Bluetooth signaling, the bookmark will be able to scan text right off the page and send it to your computer. Options to have it open in your browser under a new tab, saved to a folder similar to Zotero, or in an email to be shared with a friend will be included and selected via larger color coded and labeled touch screen buttons on the back of the bookmark. Smaller buttons on the bottom left corner will allow for a Google search of the selected term, a Wikipedia search or a voice annotation.

At the top of the bookmark, on the front, there will be a camera. This will provide real time imaging to the back of the bookmark and is shown through a rectangular text-finder at the top on the back. A green crosshair is centered on this text finder screen and used to select the text the user wants to interact with. Next to the bottom right hand corner of the text finder screen, there is a microphone for use with the voice annotation feature.

In order to keep the bookmark thin enough to fit between pages of a book, the touch screen buttons are heat sensitive and textured rather then click-able. When each button feels the heat of a human finger, its function will be activated. When finished, the bookmark should be paper thin and about 2 inches wide by 5 inches tall.

Most of the technology I want to implement into this smart bookmark will basically be slimmed down and borrowed technology from apple’s iPhone. An iPhone is still a little too bulky to be slipped seamlessly into a book, but has the Bluetooth pairing, camera, voice and touchscreen technology that the bookmark will need in order to be user friendly. Making sure the bookmark is WiFi and Bluetooth compatible is important, since these features are what allow for the information to be transferred from the bookmark to other devices.

I want to make sure the Smart Bookmark is somewhat “future-proofed” in terms of forwards compatibility as well. As smart TV’s, tablets, smart phones and other technologies become more commonplace in our homes and workspaces, the Smart Bookmark should be able to interface with the users platform of choice, whether this means the text is sent to a phone, computer, tablet, TV or other device will be up to the user.

Some technology will be borrowed from existing OCR technology as the bookmark’s processor needs to be able to almost instantly recognize and scan a variety of fonts and font sizes in from many different lighting conditions and angles. Making sure that the scanning takes place quickly will be a major priority and result in most of the bookmarks processing power being dedicated to this task.

Implementation plan (advertising/marketing/long term vision)

I think it makes the most sense for these bookmarks to be advertised towards college students at first, as this is my intended audience. Due to both this demographic and the advanced type of technology that is being advertised, the ad campaign will be almost exclusively digital. Ads should play before YouTube videos start, be featured prominently on social media sidebars, announced on internet radio stations and be featured during demos on college campuses. College students will be identified based on their online clues identified by cookies, browsing history and computer usage, many other companies are doing this and the Smart Bookmark parent company will purchase a list of potential college aged customers from other popular online organizations like Instagram, Goodreads or Pandora radio. If the product is a success, sponsoring academic organizations like Quiz-Bowl or Trivia teams and programs would be the next logical step. Perhaps a Smart Bookmark Scholarship foundation will be setup to help students in need pay for their furthered education. Any publicity will be taken as good publicity as athletes, celebrities, doctors and scholars are invited to use the product in exchange for a review.

In addition to the aggressive digital marketing campaign, college bookstores, local bookstores and larger chain bookstores will all be eligible dealers for the Smart Bookmark. Advertising the bookmarks near the checkout in order to capture the attention of the maximum number of customers will be a company priority. Some professors might even go as far as to make the Smart Bookmark a requirement for their classes in order to help students focus. In order to capture the attention of professor’s and teachers looking to integrate the bookmark into their classes, a team from Smart Bookmark will travel around to most of the major academic conferences and conventions. At target conferences like NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), attendees will be able to borrow Smart Bookmarks to use during other seminars and before eventually attending the Smart Bookmark seminar. The Smart Bookmark seminar will feature sample lesson plans and templates for possible assignments that teachers can adapt for use with their own classes.

In addition to physical, in-class usage, connectivity to web based learning tools such as Hypothesis and Zotero will allow teachers access to student annotations, expanding on the social aspect of the Smart Bookmark. Students will be able to add annotations to groups within their classes to keep notes and assignments organized in addition to making it easy for teachers to find, check and interact with their student’s work.

I want there to be a lot of aftermarket support for the Smart Bookmark to allow for users to tweak it to better suit their needs. The code should remain open source and simple, as well as flexible, letting tech savvy users modify the bookmark to meet unique challenges that may not be possible to overcome from a production standpoint. I picture there being night vision, infrared, x-ray and flashlight add-ons as the technology and community around these bookmarks begin to grow. At the same time however, I want the bookmark to remain true to its purpose and keep the readers flow from being interrupted. Features like web browsing, instant messaging and social media updates will not be supported in order to prevent encroachment from further distractions into the reading process. Smart Bookmark will have a forum page dedicated to users helping users, the creation and sharing of modifications/updates and company support. Keeping user’s happy, the product supported and current will be a major priority.

As the bookmarks become cheaper to produce and improve in quality and popularity, these ads might expand to T.V. channels, magazine pages and nationally syndicated radio. This gradual shift coincides with long term intention for the Smart Bookmark. My long term goal for this product is to have Smart Bookmarks become so easy to use and cheap to produce that they are given out everywhere and extremely common. They will be used by people from all age groups, from elementary schools to nursing homes. Schools will integrate them into classroom usage, linking from the bookmark to school computers in class. Companies will be able to brand them for advertising use like Frisbees, hats and the disposable pens are currently given out and circulated. The Book2.0 revolution will be closely followed by Bookmark2.0.

Front of Smart BookMark Prototype
Front of Smart BookMark Prototype
Rear of Smart Bookmark Prototype
Rear of Smart Bookmark Prototype

Works Cited

Davidson, Cathy N. Now you see it: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York, Viking, 2011, Accessed 1 May 2017.

McCann, Allison “Okay, but How Do Touch Screens Actually Work? » Scienceline.” Scienceline. N.p., 17–17 Jan. 2012. Web. 6 May 2017. Accessed 5 May 2017.

Woodford, Chris “How Does OCR Document Scanning Work?” Explain that Stuff. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 May 2017. Accessed 5 May 2017.

The Future Book for the Future Einstein: The Final Proposal

Shanice Hastings

Dr. Licastro

English 381. Sec 01

5 May 2017

The Future Book for the Future Einstein: A Proposal

In researching the many different techniques and learning styles for children with autism, it is clear that there is currently no one universal form of treatment. According to Prizant in The SCERTS MODEL, the goal is to provide an approach that enhances socioemotional abilities, communication skills, and transactional support to both children on the autism spectrum, and their families (296). This model, like many before it, is an attempt to combine “child-centered” and “parent-centered” practices, while using an ABA approach as a base or foundation (ABA is a behavioral learning approach with A1 as baseline, B as treatment, and A2 as the extinction phase). Due to the inconstancy in technology and literature, I am proposing a tool in the form of a virtual reality book/ software. The purpose of the book is to help children with autism transition into treatment and new social environments. All while promoting growth and positive adaptive behaviors.

In the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, Schreibman describes the challenges children with autism face when transitioning into a new environment, or when learning a new activity (3). Although the transition phase may be scaring and overwhelming, it is important and inevitable in treatment. It is likely to see behaviors worsen during this phase. The child may become more aggressive, or engage in new behaviors such as self injury (SIB) (Schreibman, 3). Studies have shown positive implications of instructional video models as a learning tool to assists with basic living skills (Shipley-Benamou, 166). However, a program that assists with treatment, academics, and transitioning phases, all in one, does not exist at the current time.

The program will simulate a learning environment through a virtual reality children’s book. The book will encompass academic and skill set education, in addition to transitional treatment and assistance. The program will also monitor progress. The virtual reality book will consist of story lines and adjustable settings within the program that can be accessed by the therapist. Instead of illustrations on a page, the child is actually in the book, interacting with characters and objects. For example, the prototype I created is called, “My First Trip to the Grocery Store.” There will be two versions of the story. The beginner version is a simple cartoon simulation of a grocery store, and the advanced version is a 3D simulation of the same thing. Depending on the child’s level of interaction he/ she will be allowed to create his/ her own avatar, or character in the book. Another great feature of this program is that it will allow for multi-players. This way, the parent has the opportunity to interact with the child.  As stated in the introduction, combining child and family-centered therapy has been a challenge in the approach and sustainability of treatment (Prizant, 296). Therefore, it is imperative to include the parent and family in the virtual reality experience. The family will acquire the tools needed to learn how to respond to behaviors, how to implement directives and treatment in absence of a therapist, as well as when to give positive reinforcements. For this reason, the directives given to the parent player will be different from directives given to the child player. For instance, in the setting of a grocery store the child can be directed to find the apples. If the child is having trouble finding the apples, the parent will be directed to offer assistance. The parent will be told what to say, by the program or the therapist, who will act as an observer. The main idea is for the parent will to interact with their child, learn what works opposed to what does not work, and practice them in a safe environment. As a result, both child and parent will feel confident in natural settings because they both have conquered the challenge of being in a new environment.

In conceptualizing the mechanics of the program, there are multiple challenges to be address. To assess whether or not the child is paying attention to directives we will incorporate an eye tracking device on the inner lens of the VR goggles. This device will track where the child is looking and when, at all times. The lens will connect to the main board of the program in order to send a signal that says the child is looking in the correct direction, or not. Then, the program will know to show arrow marks to catch the child’s attention, or highlight the mom character for help. The child will be directed to explore items by using his/ her hands to tap, or motion over them. This brings me to another feature of the VR goggles. If the child is to interact with the story through touch and motion, I would create Bluetooth signaled devices that will be attach to the finger tips. Another challenge will be controlling auditory stimuli. It is common for children on the autism spectrum to struggle with sensory overload (American Psychiatric Association). To prevent this issue, the goggles will need specific and specially made earphones that will block outside noise. The sound in the program will be adjustable by the therapist. Sensory stimuli will be introduced when the child is ready and as the therapist sees fit. For the purposes of this specific prototype, the setting will not include any additional auditory stimuli besides a monotone voice, giving directions. The idea is to perfect a prototype by testing and troubleshooting issues that may arise in the creation process. The main goal is to have a program flexible enough to customize to each individual child, and where they currently are in their learning and coping process. I would like for this device to be usable for children across the spectrum, including those with severe behaviors. The goggles will be durable enough to withstand any possible physical damage, yet light weight enough to manipulate for a child who may wear protective gear.

If you imagine what such book would look like, I would describe the concept of program one as a cartoon simulation (beginners), and program two, more life-like (advanced). The beginners program will start with a series of levels from 0-10. The child will move up in levels by following directions and earning stars, points, or coins. The goggles will detect movement and differentiate between positive behavior and negative behavior such as aggressions and self injury. For example, James is a beginner. James engages in moderate to severe SIB. One of his SIBs is skin picking. With the connection between the VR goggles and the Bluetooth fingertip reader, the program will detect whenever James picks at any part of the body and deduct a point or coin. James may earn points by correctly answering questions, or not engaging in SIB for a period of time. Of course, the therapist will be able to manipulate this feature from their end. Although, the therapist is a player only to observe, he/ she will also adjust settings to custom fit the child and his/ her needs. The program will collect and save data for each trial. This feature allows the therapist to compare his/ her observations to the data collected by the program. Since this program is intended to be an effective learning tool, it may be used for any particular thing the child is struggling with. It is not meant to be forced upon the child to use, but slowly introduced. This may mean having the child see it, then take it away. Then, have the child feel it for a moment then take it away. Next, have the child wear it for a few minutes at a time and take it away. This, too, is a new experience itself and should be introduced in moderation.  Studies have shown positive feedback in social communication when visual stimuli was used in treatment of children with autism. Thiemann and Goldstein found that 10 minutes of social interaction and 10 minutes of self evaluation using video feedback increased desired social behaviors and communicative skills (426).

This new technology is intended to give children with autism an alternative way to learn. This non-traditional approach is necessary when accommodating children with a different set of needs. In coping with their disorder, I hope this program will help children take what they have learned and apply it to real life scenarios, while decreasing problem behaviors and increasing pro social skills. Although the original program is geared toward children with autism, it is not limited to one disorder. Eventually, there will be a variety of different stories written by the best authors of children’s books. I hope that this book will give children and their families a sense of hope for the future, and unlock the genius potential behind the unrecognized Einstein.











Work Cited


American Psychiatric Association, and American Psychiatric Association. “DSM-5 Task Force.(2013).” Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5™. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Prizant, Barry M., et al. “The SCERTS Model: A transactional, family‐centered approach to enhancing communication and socioemotional abilities of children with autism spectrum disorder.” Infants & Young Children 16.4 (2003): 296-316.

Schreibman, Laura, Christina Whalen, and Aubyn C. Stahmer. “The use of video priming to reduce disruptive transition behavior in children with autism.”Journal of positive behavior interventions 2.1 (2000): 3-11.

Shipley-Benamou, Robin, John R. Lutzker, and Mitchell Taubman. “Teaching daily living skills to children with autism through instructional video modeling.”Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions 4.3 (2002): 166-177.

Thiemann, Kathy S., and Howard Goldstein. “Social stories, written text cues, and video feedback: Effects on social communication of children with autism.” Journal of applied behavior analysis 34.4 (2001): 425-446.


The Pressure Annotating System


For a long time, people with disabilities have not been given the same accessibility and attention, as they should. “The American Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation” ( My project specifically targets the visibly impaired which in 1996, changed the copyright laws for equal production and distribution of braille text in digital and print forms.

Copyright laws before the breakthrough weren’t’ favorable for the blind. Anything reproduced for the blind, whether it was a book or an item, was taken one at a time instead of a mass production. The reasoning was because braille text was more expensive and time consuming to produce. Authors and publishers had to and still have to sign off for permission to create a braille text. Many times the process would be delayed for months or eventually, the permission would not go through.

After the law was passed, one of the requirements on copyright permission made way for the future of digital text. “All works which are reproduced or distributed in a specialized format, including Braille, audio, or digital reproductions, must contain a statement that “Further reproduction or distribution in a format other than a specialized format is prohibited.” According to the Library of Congress, this notice must appear both in print (for example, on the label of a recorded disk or cassette) and in the audio, Braille, or digital text itself” ( The steps taken by the U.S government has ensured the future of a universal reading experience.


            The name of my project is called “The Pressure Annotating System,” it is a physical book that allows the visibly impaired to be able to annotate a text directly in the book and it will have the ability to read that highlighted text back to the user with the braille protruding to indicate the annotated section. I believe that this invention will have a great effect on the visibly impaired community, which can also be used in the classroom.


            As of 2014, an estimated 285 million people globally are visually impaired, and 39 million are blind. About 90 percent of the visually impaired have a low income (World Health Organization, Visual impairment and blindness,). My main audience would be visibly impaired high school and college students. Our job as English students is to be able to read any work critically and closely. What makes this work efficiently is that we are able to see the text in front of us. We can identify the structures and specific diction the author chose to use to create meaning. Around that time, students are beginning to read more text and asked to be able to close read it for a better understanding and to find meaning.

This would also have to extend to teachers who are working with the students on a regular basis. Being able to teach in general is something that has to be constantly worked on, as they have to be someone who can interact well with all students while finding methods and techniques that work. “Johnson characterized learning to teach as “a long-term, complex, developmental process that is the result of participation in the social practices and contexts associated with learning and teaching” (Kristin Davin, Francis Troyan, The Implementation of High-Leverage Teaching Practices).

Technical Specifications

What I want to mix is Text-to-speech technology and pressure sensory. How the book will look and operate is through the pressure applied by the reader. Each page will have to be thicker so that the activation technology can be used on both sides of the page. In the spine, there is a speaker for the text to be spoken. When the reader comes across a word or a phrase that feels important or useful to refer back to, the user simply presses against the braille and it will be said aloud. With the TTS, the page braille on the page will either protrude or change texture to simulate highlighting.

We see text-to-speech used in audiobooks that is accessible to everyone. We see it used in our phones, tablets, kindles, laptops, every piece of established technology. What I really want to develop is the ability to incorporate pressure technology. ”Deep touch pressure refers to a form of tactile sensory input which is often provided by firm holding, firm stroking, cuddling, hugging, and squeezing. Deep touch pressure acts as a calming or focusing agent to increase activity in the parasympathetic division, and lower activity in the sympathetic division of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)” ( is a website that makes wearable touch technology vests simulates a hugging feeling. They want to improve the quality of life for people dealing with stress, anxiety, and children with autism, ADHD, and other conditions of that nature.

The Pressure Annotating system would work something like this, but flipped. Instead of the pressure against you, the user will be applying pressure. A certain amount of pressure will have to trigger the annotating process. Reading braille now can vary depending on the individual’s finger sensitivity. Health conditions can make it more difficult to read braille. Some books and magazines have incorporated bigger dots to counteract the lack of feeling in the fingers, but it is very limited ( The text used for the pressure annotating will use softer paper and dots.

A machine called the Refreshable Braille Display is a pad that goes underneath a keyboard so that it can generate braille. The user highlights the line on the computer screen and it turns into text into braille. The pad uses pins to create the dots in each cell. There are eight dots per cell. Six are for braille, and two are to identify the cursor. This technology is similar to what I have envisioned, so I would want to work with the creator to get a better understanding of how this my plan can be achieved and ultimately more beneficial.


            The target audience may be high school and college scholars, but with high tech hardware, we see today, the students won’t really be the ones to afford it. The Pressure Annotating System will have to be marketed to parents, teachers, and schools, as they are the demographic with the income to afford it. Kevin Carey of The Perkins School for the Blind wrote an article in 2007 on the “Issues of content accessibility in the digital environment” (Kevin Carey, The Opportunities and Challenges of the Digital Age).  One of his topics is on the production of print copies of braille text, as it took too long to create which hurt the blind community. “When  you think  about  it, whether  you are a student or  a voracious reader  who likes to discuss new books  with  friends,  a  two-year  wait  for  a  book  is destructively  long” (Carey, page 3).

In 2011, Carey promised to cut the price down of the Refreshable Braille Display by 90 percent. He succeeded 5 years later. The device costs $320 to manufacture, and can be bought between $1,300 and $5,000 (Alix Hackett, A low-cost revolution in refreshable braille). With the all the new ways of creating technology now, my design could be something that is quick to manufacture so that users don’t have to wait a long time. It is taking things that have already been created. Incorporating into something new shouldn’t be too difficult.

Email would be a good way of getting attention because of the demographic, and the fact that every person has one. The next big way of marketing this would be through social media and YouTube by hitting relatives and friends of people who are visibly impaired. All it takes is someone with a big enough following to start getting the attention on the product. TV ads could also work because if the individual is old enough, they will probably be more likely to come across it as opposed to the younger generation who doesn’t look at television.


            My project idea has a lot of potential to become the next important piece of technology for the visual impaired. The community has come a long way to have equal rights for something that is so important for everyone to know. Being able to read goes towards education, communication, personal growth, and just pure enjoyment. Having all these available outlets now is moving us as a society to becoming more empathetic to all, and hopefully, it will continue to grow with the ability to grasp a complete understanding of a text through The Pressure Annotating System.



Works Cited

Carey, Kevin. “The Opportunities and Challenges of the Digital Age: A Blind User’s Perspective.” Library Trends, vol. 55, no. 4, 2007, pp. 767-784

Davin, Kristin J. and Francis J. Troyan. “The Implementation of High-Leverage Teaching Practices: From the University Classroom to the Field Site.” Foreign Language Annals, vol. 48, no. 1, 2015, pp. 124-142.

Hackett, Alix. “A low-cost revolution in refreshable braille.” Perkins School for the Blind, March 24, 2014, Accessed 5/5/17

“All About Braille”,, accessed 5/2/17

“New Copyright Law Breakthrough For The Blind” Future Reflections: The National Federation of the Blind Magazine for Parents and Teachers of Blind Children, Vol.16, No.1 1997. Accessed 5/5/17

“Refreshable Braille Displays” American Foundation For the Blind, Accessed 5/5/17

“The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Revised ADA Regulations

Implementing Title II and Title III”, Accessed 5/5/17

“The Science Behind Tjacket”,, accessed 5/2/17

“Visual impairment and blindness”, World Health Organization,, August 2014, Accessed 5/5/17

Photos and Videos

Williams, George. “Refreshable Braille Display” Flickr March 8, 2013, Accessed 5/5/17

“Braille Alphabet”, Wikimedia Commons, Accessed 5/5/17

HumanWareTechnologie “HumanWare Brailliant Braille Display” YouTube May 15, 2012, Accessed 5/5/17

April 25th Journal

I was given a plastic plate shaped like an enlarged jock-strap. In order to force people to read, this plate will attach to the person’s face and fill up with water as they read a page. This will encourage them to actually read so that they can avoid drowning. Once the page is read, the water goes back down. At the start of a new page, the mask begins to fill with water again. This cycle continues until the book is completely finished. Eye-scanning devices will determine whether the page has actually been read. When the person is finished reading they will be tested on the content of the book–this is still while the mask is on. If they get less than 75% on the test the mask will fill with water, ultimately drowning them to death.

Pitch: Pressure Annotating

Our job as english students is to be able to read any work critically and closely. What makes this work efficiently is that we are able to see the text in front of us. We can identify the structures and specific diction the author chose to use to create meaning. But what about someone who is unable to see whats exactly on the page, how will they be able to close read and annotate the text they are reading? What I am proposing and want to create is technology a visibly impaired person can use to close read any text. Now, there is technology that reads the text for you, and of course braille is used to for people to read physical copies of text. What I want to do is mix the two together.

For this to work, we would have to make new books that are connected to a smartphone. The books wouldn’t be made out of ink and paper anymore. Instead, the braille will be connected to a chip in the spine that allows for a person to apply a certain amount of pressure throughout any part of the text to create a highlight type action on the page. What will happen is that after the pressure is placed, it will turn kind of sleek to indicate that you have made an annotation. That annotation can then be read to you straight from the book.

There are many organizations around the country that help the visibly impaired by prerecording material for people to indulge. One group called RRRB (Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind) produces over six hours of recorded audio a week for a retirement home and communities around the West Valley of Maricopa County, Arizona. Because there are volunteers like them, it wouldn’t be a difficult task to find people that want to be a part of the project.

I want to focus this more for blind scholars. I feel that this will help aid in reading more difficult text because for someone who isn’t sight challenged, an individual will most likely mark up an entire reading because there is just so much information that needs to be carefully analyzed.

Works Cited

Recorded Recreational Reading for the Blind, Accessed 25 April 2017

The Future Book, For The Future Einstein Proposal


Cute little child girl playing game in virtual reality glasses.

The Future Book for the Future Einstein: A Proposal

Think of “A night from Christmas past”- Well the virtual reality book would be an imitation of that. Instead of illustrations on a page, we are actually in the book, interacting with characters and objects. The reader will be introduced to a new environment in the realms of this book, as the narrator reads the words aloud. The reader will be directed to explore items by simply touching or tapping them.

Imagine! It’s a warm and sunny day. The air is filled with the song of two love birds in a ballad (the reader is seeing and hearing this). You look down and you find that you are in a field of flowers, flowers of all kind. Look up and you’ll see big white fluffy clouds. Touch the grass, it’s really real. Feel it! You touch and you feel it between your fingertips. The narrator, who is directing your attention, may be an audio voice or a simulation of an actual person who is walking through this book with you. You see a huge tree in the distance; it’s a great big oak tree. The narrator gives you history about the and instructed you to touch or place your hand on the tree, once you do that you get a vision of the tree’s past. Or maybe there is a girl sitting under the tree. She’s humming and seems happy. The narrator tells you to touch or tap the girl on the shoulder to get her attention. Playing off this idea, there are opportunities for new books to be written and translated into this program. The programs created for this book are intended for children with autism and a variety of intellectual disabilities. There will be a variety of different stories/ programs that will simulate “real-world” experiences. For instance, My First Trip to the Grocery Store, would be a book that teaches children coping with severe autism, or behavioral problems, how to behave in public settings. Within the story settings there will be a specific tab to set and adjust external stimuli such as sound. This way the parent or therapist can adjust the book’s settings to the child’s needs at the current moment, and introduce stimuli, moderately.

My audience would be geared mostly toward children with autism, as well as a wide range of other intellectual disabilities as the book evolves.  The purpose of this new technology is to provide children with autism (specifically those with problem behaviors such as aggressive and self-injurious behaviors) learn socially desired coping skills and mechanisms in a fun and educational way. The program will also include positive reinforcement in the form of coins, tickets, or currency (depending on the setting) for following directions. For highly aggressive children, the virtual reality goggles and gloves must be able to detect AGGs and SIBs. The equipment must be nearly indestructible. My hopes for the new book is that children will take what they have learned and apply it to real life scenarios, thus decreasing problem behaviors and increasing social, communicative skills.

Pitch: HoloBook

Any book lover knows the movie never comes close to the magic of the book and while TV versions come closer, they still can’t compare. Why settle for watered down, inaccurate replications when we can have the fully realized version in the palm of our hands? Introducing HoloBook, the holographic reader that fits over the pages of any book  and renders 3D visuals. The HoloBook combines the technology of audiobooks with holograms to create a movie right on the pages of your novel.

The product will be made from damage resistant, light weight plexiglass with built in reader technology that processes the words on the page to create the images projected from micro-projectors under the surface of the glass. The images will be full color and the story will be read out via a small speaker in the bottom corner or through Bluetooth headphones. When not in projecting mode the HoloBook can be used like a tablet to access the social book site, GoodReads, allowing the user to easily update their progress and find discussion boards for the book. The HoloBook will use a micro-USB charger that will plug in near the speaker. A single charge will hold for 3-4 hours. The HoloBook will be like a movie where it is released after the original story to allow time for the author to coordinate with artists. 

With the growing young adult genre, there are now more books targeted to young people today than ever before. The HoloBook will be marketed to people between the ages of 16-25 using advertisements targeted to social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads, and commercials for YouTube. The HoloBook will be advertised to appeal to book lovers and to movie lovers alike.

The HoloBook will change the way people read books. It creates a new, visual way to enjoy our favorite stories, to see the magic and mystery up close and personal unlike anything we see on the market today. Currently there is nothing on the market like HoloBook as it combines the best features of movies and audiobooks to bring a more immersive experience to the reader. The immersion aspect of this product is possibly it’s most important. People use books as an escape from reality, the more immersive the technology the better. Book lovers will no longer have to struggle with interpreting and envisioning what an author is trying to get use to see. And unlike movie versions, the author doesn’t have to compromise their work to make it more suited to the silver screen.

Book 2.0 Pitch

I love books, but one of the major downsides to a physical copy (especially if it is a textbook) is handling the weight of it. It’s even more cumbersome if you have to lug around multiple books all day long like many students, teachers, librarians, etc. You may be thinking, “Why don’t you just download an electronic copy to your computer?” Even today, not everyone can afford a personal computer and, even if you can, there is a limited amount of available space to download e-books, especially if you don’t have the latest, greatest model. Plus, computers can be pretty fragile, they can require a lot of maintenance whether in regards to the hardware or the software, and they require electricity and Wi-Fi access. When was the last time you had to charge a book? Physical copies of books aren’t going anywhere, but what if there was a way to make them a little easier to live with? What if we could make our books lighter and more compact? What if we could, in essence, shrink them? I propose the creation of a book that has the ability to be folded or molded until it has achieved a small enough size that a person could actually carry it around in their pocket if they choose to. This could not only improve your travel needs, whether between school and home or even between different states, but also any storage issues that could arise from simply owning too many books. The book’s elasticity could be achieved by incorporating mold-able plastics into the paper production process. There is even a company, InstaMorph, that could provide “light-weight thermoplastic” (The InstaMorph Team) for this product’s construction. When the plastic is warmed up, it is as mold-able as clay. When the plastic has cooled down, it can become as strong and hard as a counter-top. We could create a brand new type of literary material that could outlast anything that has come before it.

Works Cited

Taylor, Kelly. “Tiny Books.” Flickr, Yahoo, 22 Mar. 2008, Accessed 20 Apr. 2017.

Team, The InstaMorph. “Home.” InstaMorph, Happy Wire Dog, LLC, 20 Mar. 2016, Accessed 20 Apr. 2017.