Integrated Light Sensitive Gels and Hard Materials for Dynamic 3D Displays for the Visually-Impaired

Project: Research project

Project Details


Among many versatile physical and chemical properties of materials, their environmental responsiveness is always of tremendous interest to the science and engineering community. Moreover, one important area yet to be explored is the environmental responsiveness of the heterogeneous materials/structures, for example, a combination of soft and hard materials. In this project, we will investigate material synthesis, processing technology, and multiphysics analysis to integrate light sensitive gels and hard materials for three dimensional (3D) dynamic tactile displays targeting the visually-impaired. One of the primary barriers of leaving the visually-impaired still underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields is the inaccessibility to visual content images, which imminently demands a dynamically refreshable tactile display to revolutionize the means of bringing 3D images to the visually-impaired. The proposed display can be placed over 2D optical display devices (e.g., a cell phone or computer). The optical light emission is amplified by the embedded optical devices (hard materials) to trigger the light sensitive gels (soft materials) to rise (i.e., swell) or descend (i.e., deswell) to change the surface topography. We have performed preliminary work and demonstrated the feasibility of the proposed project.
Effective start/end date5/1/154/30/18


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $400,000.00


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