Number 44 • June December 2009



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A lineographic, alphanumeric, data imput system – that’s technical talk!




Alfredo Alvarado has a patent pending on an invention he hopes will support communication




Background of the System


Since ancient times there has been a universal need for communication among humans and other living creatures. This communication includes a variety of means such as human speech, sounds and body signs painting pictures or writing on cavern walls, using quipu cords to calculate, marking parchment or paper, imprinting clay tablets, reading and writing books, and currently sending messages via telegraph and telephone wires, receiving television, using computers, cell phones and different kinds of electronic gadgets.

People with serious sight problems can use their voice and hearing to communicate with each other, and in addition, if they have had language, they can use the braille method to read and write. However, deafblind persons need to communicate by other means such as touching to represent actions or situations, or by using a simple method such as printing with a finger on the hand’s palm the letters of every word.

Deafblind persons can communicate using touch systems like the Malossi method in which different parts of the hand is touched or pinched representing different letters of the alphabet. This system, although useful, has significant limitations since it provides an alphabet with not too many capabilities for representing orthographic signs or mathematical symbols.

There is also a Malossi alphabet interface developed by Nicholas Caporusso of Alti Studi Lucca Institutions of Ponziano, Lucca that uses a glove equipped with sensors and actuators that enables communication using the Malossi language that is easily learned by the deafblind person.

One alternative is the use of a hand-shaped keyboard that lets deaf and blind people send electronic messages that can be read on a computer display. This system was developed by engineers Ezio Manzonni and Alberto Sannino in collaboration with students of Cesari Pesenti High School in Bergamo, Italy, and utilizes the Malossi alphabet described above that converts the pressing and pinching motions into electronic impulses that can be relayed to a monitor and read by a sighted person.

What is the Lineographic System?


The object of the lineographic system is to facilitate writing or text entry on a keypad integrated with a computer monitor, or a telephone screen. In addition, the lineographic system can be easily adapted for direct text entry on the palm of a deafblind person taking advantage of the skin sensors of the hand that will transmit the perceived signals directly to the brain. On the other hand the lineographic system can be modified for text data output for blind people using an improved braille that can be used in literary work, mathematics, science, computer software, and other variety of written materials. Another possibility is to translate the text entry into a machine that can print dashes and dots on a braille paper, similar to the braille system, but with the advantage of being more complete and allowing writing of more than 200 mathematical symbols.

The system is in 2 parts


The lineographic system has two components: One for the text entry or writing, and other one for text output or reading. Both have patents pending.

Text entry can be performed by using the data imput system developed by Alfredo that eliminates the regular telephone keypad and the small buttons arranged in the conventional “QWERTY” configuration typically found on hand held devices. The system allows text to be entered into portable cellular phones, hand held computers and other electronic devices in a precise form by making linear traces or taps with a thumb or finger on a special pad. The system enables the user to enter operational commands on the pad as well as entering letters of different foreign alphabets. The alphanumeric pad has 12 touch sensitive cells than can be used for text entering of letters, numbers, punctuation marks, orthographic signs and mathematical symbols.

The text output or reading component is designed to convert the input traces made on the alphanumeric pad into an improved Braille that provides a universal code that can be used with different materials such as literary text including various foreign languages, mathematics, science and computer software. The main advantage of the system is that it can use a large number of combinations due to the fact that it employs a 12-dot code. The numerals can be represented in their simplest form without the need of indicators, as in the Braille system, and this would help enormously to facilitate execution of mathematical operations. The input traces of the lineographic system can be translated into raised dashes and dots on a special braille paper than can be perceived with the fingers by a blind person. The raised dash indicates the initiation of each character and the following raised dots (similar to the dots used in braille) will complete the representation of the character. Each character is contained in a particular embossed frame, but it can be modified by omitting the embossed frames which is particularly destined to experienced braille readers. Another alternative would be to use a braille board provided with movable dashes and dots that are activated by a microprocessor and chip controller.

A non technical option


Recently, Alfredo developed a third lineographic system based on the same system that would facilitate communication among visually impaired people, particularly deafblind persons who have the more severe form of disability. The new system does not require the use of any machine or computer and is ready to be used anywhere. This system is a tactile method on the hand and the lineographic method is replicated by making short linear traces in the appropriate place on the hand. The method is the same as many tactile methods already use by deafblind people to communicate language but the advantages of the lineographic method would be that it would entend the amount and quality of alphanumeric information that could be processed because it does not use ordinary language but the code system.
Alfredo’s complete article is at www. deafblindinternational.org


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