Low-Cost Electromechanical Actuator Arrays for Tactile Display Applications

Michael Karpelson1, Rut Peña2, Robert Wood1

  • 1Harvard University
  • 2Harvard University Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engi



Interactive Session


10:30 - 13:00 | Tue 22 May | podI | TuA@I

Haptics and Interfaces

Full Text


Dynamic tactile displays represent a class of haptic devices of particular interest to the blind and visually impaired. Despite many years of research and development efforts, the low-cost, low-power, compact tactile display remains elusive. This paper describes a low-cost electromechanical actuator array based on low-force, low-displacement bistable actuators that can be realized using inexpensive, commercially available components and high-volume manufacturing processes. The array is applicable to several types of tactile displays; as an initial proof of concept, we demonstrate a 6-dot Braille cell with a 3mm pitch that requires less than 50mJ per actuator per transition.

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  • Target application: tactile displays for the visually impaired
  • Based on low-force, low-displacement actuators realized using COTS components and high-volume manufacturing processes
  • Proof-of-concept device: 6-dot Braille cell with a 3mm pitch that consumes no power when static and requires less than 50mJ per actuator per transition