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1. (WO1989006599) APPARATUS FOR PRINTING BRAILLE IN PAPER
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

APPARATUS FOR PRINTING BRAILLE IN PAPER

The invention relates to an apparatus for printing Braille in paper, comprising means for transporting paper, an elongated die, a carriage movable along the die, and carrying a hammer with a printing head, and which at
operating the hammer cooperates with the die for forming an embossment of a Braille character in the paper, and a controlling unit, which, in accordance with signals
representing letters and other, characters, controls the carriage, the hammer and the means for transporting paper.
Such an apparatus is known from German utility model 8,524,965. In this known apparatus the die consists of a typewriter platen, in which encircling slots are formed, while the hammer is an arm of a daisy wheel, which carries the dot character. This known apparatus has the
disadvantage, that the daisy wheel, at least the dot
character thereof, will wear down very quickly. An important disadvantage is furthermore, that the embossments, which 'form the Braille character, are turned away from the user, so that the blind user can only check the printed Braille characters when the paper has been removed from the
apparatus. Since the apparatus of this kind will often be used as a peripheral unit of a micro computer, the blind user has not the possibility to immediately check the text typed with the keyboard for mistakes.
The invention aims to provide an apparatus of the type described above, wherein this disadvantage is overcome easily and effectively.
To this end the apparatus according to the
invention is characterized in that the die is provided with a row of substantially half-spherical projections aligned with eachother, and arranged in groups of two with
intermediate distances in accordance with the horizontal intermediate distances between the embossments in Braille, and in that the printing head of the hammer has an
indentation complementary to the projections.
In this way the embossments of the Braille characters are facing the user, so that the blind user can _.
immediately read a line of Braille characters formed in the paper. Thus the user can immediately check the text entered with the keyboard.
According to a favourable embodiment, the
apparatus, for facilitating reading of a formed line of
Braille characters, is made in such a manner, that the controlling unit operates the means for transporting paper to scroll the formed line of Braille characters to a reading position, if during a predetermined period no signals
representing letters and similar characters are received, while the controlling unit upon receipt of such signals operates the means for transporting paper to scroll the paper back into the original position.
The invention further provides the possibility to print a translation of a line of Braille characters in ordinary characters directly under a line of Braille
characters. According to a specifically favourable
embodiment the carriage is thereto provided with a printing unit for ordinary print. Such an embodiment is especially favourable in education of blind people, since a teacher can for example correct texts produced by pupils in Braille very quickly in ordinary print. Further, with this embodiment correspondence between seeing and blind people is possible.
According to the invention it is also possible to provide the die with a second row of approximately
semi-spherical aligned projections with intermediate
distances of equal length, wherein the controlling unit can, in accordance with signals representing a geometric figure or the like, operate the carriage, the hammer and the means for transporting the paper to form Braille embossments which together form this shape.
In this way for example graphics, geometrical figures and the like can be formed palpably to a blind user in the paper, wherein an explanation to the formed figure 5 can be added in Braille characters.
According to the invention it is in this case to be preferred if the intermediate distance between each two successive projections of the row of projections with equal intermediate distances corresponds with the vertical pitch 3
between the embossments of a Braille character, wherein the controlling unit is made in such a manner that successive lines of text can be formed in the paper in the longitudinal direction thereof.
At using the apparatus as a peripheral unit for a micro computer of the like it is thereby possible to print the whole width of a monitor screen, which usually measures 80 characters, in the longitudinal direction of the paper. At ordinary print of lines in Braille this is not possible, since with ordinary width of the paper only 24 Braille characters can be printed.
According to an very favourable embodiment the die is provided with a row of substantially semi-spherical indentations aligned with eachoter and arranged in groups of two with intermediate distances corresponding to the
intermediate distances of the embossments in Braille,
wherein each group of two indentations is displaced over half a pitch between the embossments of a Braille character as compared to the projections, wherein the carriage is provided with a second hammer with printing head, which has a projection corresponding to the indentations, and wherein the controlling unit is made in such a manner that Braille characters to be formed optionally on the side of the paper facing away from the hammers, are formed simultaneously with the forming of Braille characters on the side of the paper facing the hammers.
In this way, it is possible to form Braille
characters on both sides of the paper at once. The selected horizontal displacement of the. row of indentations and the row of projections in the die causes the embossments of the Braille characters on either side of the paper to lie exactly between those of the Braille characters on the other side.
Preferably, the vertical intermediate distance between the row of projections and the row of indentations of the die equals thereby 1,5 times the vertical pitch between the embossments of a Braille character, so that the Braille characters at one side of the paper are placed as much as possible in the blank space between the lines on the other side of the paper.

4
The invention will be further explained by
reference to the drawing, in which several embodiments of the apparatus according to the invention are shown.
Fig. 1 is a schematically shown top view of a first embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention.
Fig. 2 is a schematically shown top view of a second embodiment of the apparatus according to the
invention.
Fig. 3 is a schematically shown side view of the carriage with hammer for Brail-le characters, as used in the embodiments of fig 1 and 2.
Fig. 4 shows a very simplified block diagram of the controlling unit according to fig. 1 and 2.
Fig. 5 is a schematically shown top view of a third embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention.
Fig. 6 is a very schematically, partly shown cross-section according to the line VI-VI in fig. 5 on a larger scale.
Fig. 7 is a view of the die of the apparatus according to fig. 5.
Fig. 8 shows the position of Braille characters on both sides of the paper.
Fig. 9 is a cross-section of the piece of paper shown in fig. 8.
Fig. 10 is a view of the die of a fourth
embodiment of the apparatus according to the invention.
In fig. 1 a first embodiment of a -apparatus for printing Braille print in paper is shown, which apparatus will be referred to hereinafter as Braille printer. The Braille printer is provided with a transporting means or tractor 1 for paper 2, wherein the transporting of paper takes place by means of pins, which engage into the holes in the side edges of the paper.
The Braille printer is further provided with a carriage 3 and a stationary elongated die 4 formed as a platen, wherein the carriage 3 is movable in the
longitudinal direction of the platen 4 by means of a motor 5 and a driving belt 6. The transporting means 1 for the paper 2 is driven by a motor 7.

The carriage 3, which is shown schematically in side view on a larger scale in fig. 3, carries a hammer 8, which is carried out with a printing head 9, which is provided with a substantially half-spherical recess 10. The hammer 8 is operable by exciting a coil 11.
The platen 4 is made of a rigid material, such as for example aluminium, and has a row of approximately half-spherical projections 12 aligned with eachother and arranged in groups of two with intermediate distances in accordance with the horizontal intermediate distances of the
embossments in Braille. In fig. 3 only one projection 12 is visible. The row of projections 12 lies exactly in line with the path of the printing head 9 of the hammer 8.
When the hammer 8 is being operated by exciting the coil 11, the printing head 9 presses the paper 2 on the projection 12 of the platen 4, so that an embossment is formed in the paper 2. A controlling unit, which is
represented as a very simplified block diagram in fig. 4, controls the carriage 3, the hammer 8 and the means for transporting paper 1 in such a way that in this manner the desired Braille characters are formed in the paper 2. The control takes thereby place in dependency on signals
corresponding to letters, interpunction, figures and the like, which are originating from a micro computer or the like not shown.
The controlling unit comprises a microprocessor 13, which is connected to a hammer control unit 14, a carriage controlling unit 15 and a paper control unit 16, which respectively control the coil 11, the motor 5 and the motor 7. The microprocessor 13 is further connected to an interface 17, via which the communication with a personal computer or the like takes place. The signals originating from this computer are translated into Braille characters with the use of a table stored in the memory 18, whereby the microprocessor 13 controls the various control units 13-15 in accordance with the position of the necessary
embossments. This operation takes place in such a manner, that all embossments lying on the same level of all Braille characters of a line are successively formed in the paper, so that with the common six points Braille three runs of the carriage 3 along the platen 4 are needed to print one line of Braille characters.
The described apparatus has the important
advantage, that the embossments formed in the paper 2 are facing the user, so that a blind user can immediately read a formed line of Braille characters. In this manner it is for example possible for the user to immediately check a line of formed Braille characters for mistakes. In the described apparatus the microprocessor 3 is programmed in such a manner that it operates the transporting means 1 to scroll the formed line of Braille characters to a reading position, if no signals are received from the computer during a
predetermined period, for example 2 sec. As soon as signals are again received from the computer, the microprocessor 13 operates the transporting means 1 to scroll the paper 2 back into the original position.
Because the Braille characters are facing the user, it is possible to print the same text in ordinary print immediately below a line of Braille characters. An apparatus suitable for that purpose is shown schematically in fig. 2. At the Braille printer according to fig. 2 the carriage 3 is apart from the hammer 8 further provided with a daisy wheel 19 with accompanying hammer 20 and a ribbon cartridge 21, and with the necessary driving means for these parts not further shown. The controlling unit of the Braille printer of fig. 2 corresponds to the controlling unit for the Braille printer of fig. 1. Of course further controlling units, such as for the daisy wheel and the like, are
present, which are not shown since they are not important for the present invention.
The Braille printer according to fig. 2 is
especially suited for use in education for blind people, for the teachers can check texts considerably quicker. Further, 5 with this Braille printer a blind person can compose texts, which are intended for seeing persons.
In fig. 5 a Braille printer is shown, which can form Braille characters on both sides of the paper 2.
Thereto the platen 4, which is shown in fig. 6 in cross 7
section and in fig. 7 in view, is provided with a row of approximately half-spherical indentations 22, aligned with eachother and arranged in the same manner as the projections 12 in groups of two with intermediate distances in
accordance with the horizontal intermediate distances of the embossments in Braille. Further the carriage 3 is provided with a second hammer 23 with a printing head 24, which has a projection 25 corresponding to the indentations 22. The hammers 8 and 23 are shown schematically in fig. 6. The hammer 23 is controllable with- a coil, not shown, in the same manner as the hammer 8. The control takes place by the controlling unit, which is to this end enlarged with a hammer control unit.
In fig. 8 and 9 the way in which the Braille characters are located with respect to eachother on either side of the paper is shown schematically. The Braille characters formed on the reverse side of the paper are indicated with shaded embossments 26 and the Braille
characters on the facing side of the paper are indicated with not shaded embossments 27. Of course in reality only those embossments 26 or 27 respectively that are needed for a specific Braille character are formed in the paper. The horizontal heart-to-heart distance a between two Braille embossments of a Braille character is indicated with
horizontal pitch and the vertical heart-to-heart distance b between two Braille embossments of a Braille character is indicated with vertical pitch.
As appears from fig. 7, the indentations 22 are displaced over half the horizontal pitch a with respect to the projections 12. In this manner the embossments 26 of the Braille characters on the reverse side of the paper will be located exactly between the embossments 27 of the Braille characters on the facing side of the paper. The vertical .distance between the projections 12 and the indentations 22 of the platen 4 equals 1,5 times the vertical pitch b. In consequence thereof the embossments 26 of the Braille characters on the reverse side of the paper are placed as much as possible in the interline between two lines of
Braille characters on the facing side of the paper.

a
Finally in fig. 10 a view of the platen 28 for an alternative embodiment of the Braille printer according to the invention is shown. The platen 28 is a part from the row of projections 12 provided with a row of substantially half- spherical projections 29 with equal mutual intermed!are distance. For this row projections 29 the carriage 3 of his- Braille printer is provided with a not-shown second hammer with printing head, which has an indentation corresponding to the projections 29 and which can cooperate with this
- second row of projections 29 to form embossments in the paper. Because all projections 29 are provided with equal intermediate distances the controlling unit can operate the carriage 3, the hammer belonging to the projections 29 and the paper transporting means 1 in such a way, that a drawing or the like is formed in embossments in the paper. In this manner the controlling unit can form a geometrical figure or graphics pictured on the monitor screen of a personal computer or the like in the paper, so that this figure is made "visible" to a blind person.
At the embodiment according to fig. 10 the
intermediate distance between the projections 29 equals the vertical pitch b of a Braille character. The microprocessor 13 of the controlling unit is thereby programmed in such a manner, that successive lines of text can be formed in the 5 longitudinal direction if the paper, so that the Braille characters of a line in the Braille printer are positioned
o
as it were rotated over 90 in columns. In this manner a line of Braille characters can comprise any desired number of Braille characters, so that for example a print out of 0 the text shown on a standard monitor screen with a width of 80 characters per line can also be made in Braille paper. At printing the text on the screen in the ordinary line-wise manner this is not possible, since the width of the paper only allows for 24 Braille characters per line.
5 It is noted, that the knobs 30 shown in the figures 1, 2 and 5 are only serving for operating the paper transport means 1. The platen 4 remains stationary under all circumstances, since a precise alignment of the rows of projections and indentations of the platen 4 with the 3
corresponding hammers is of great importance.
Although in the described embodiments the die with the projections and of desired indentations is made each time as platen, it is of course also possible to carry out the die in any other desired manner.
At the apparatus according to fig. 2 a daisy wheel has been applied for printing ordinary print. It will be clear that also other types of printing units for ordinary print can be used. Further the various described embodiments can also be combined in other ways.
The invention, then, is not restricted to the embodiments described above, which can be varied in various ways within the scope of the invention.