The show with Tactile Engineering

Connecting the dots is a metaphor to describe the understanding gained by a series of seemingly disconnected events that connect and lead to a specific conclusion. 

This conversation is about a unique type of dots, specifically Braille dots. Braille was invented over 200 years ago to provide a method for visually impaired people to read using combinations of six dots to represent letters and words. Books translated into Braille are available for the visually impaired.  

According to the National Federation of the Blind, fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million people who are legally blind in the United States are Braille readers. Further, a mere 10 percent of blind children are learning to read Braille. In addition, over 70 percent of blind adults are unemployed, and as many as 50 percent of blind high school students drop out of high school.

The information tsunami brought on by the Internet left the visually impaired with a significant problem. How can these individuals, including K-12 students, access education, be gainfully employed, and participate in the digital world?

Join us as Dave Schleppenbach discusses the journey to develop a digital Braille technology to provide the visually impaired access to the digital world, including digital content, games, graphics, and animation.

The topics addressed in this interview are:

  • 00:00 Intro to Dave Schleppenbach, CEO of Tactile Engineering
  • 01:40 Overview of the Tactile Engineering device for the visually impaired
  • 03:06 How the Cadence device works
  • 04:31 The statistics on the visually impaired population
  • 05:03 The relationship between Braille and raised print
  • 07:02 The market size for visual impairment
  • 08:49 Mobility of the Braille device
  • 09:40 Starting with deployment in local markets
  • 11:55 Deciding to address blindness with technology
  • 13:26 From tinkering to a robotic factory
  • 14:30 The factory tour
  • 18:00 Financial support product development
  • 20:30 How well do adults learn to use the Cadence device?
  • 22:00 Sources of funding for Tactile Engineering
  • 23:00 What are the plans for the future?
  • 24:07 Contact information