The TACK-TILES® Keypad for IntelliKeys® is now in stock and ready for delivery.

Field studies with a prototype of the TACK-TILES® Braille Systems Keypad have proven its practicality revealing details of better design embodied by the current successor prototype. Study continues. Machined from sheet plastic, the overlay frame is 8.5" x 12" x .125"(all measurements herein are approximate). Five rows of evenly spaced wells measuring approximately one by five eighths of an inch at the surface and one and a half by five eighths of an inch below each surface occupy the overlay frame. Wells are to trap fifty eight "keyclips."

The keyclip is a single molded piece whose dimensions precisely fit the subsurface wells. A third of a keyclip's length is a spring device. (Springs on keyclips resemble antennae on a cockroach). The underside of the keyclip has a small well. A fifteen thousandths of an inch protrusion of the frame, rests within the well, undisturbed. The exposed surface offers two rows of three domed bumps which, if asked, would readily accept a LEGO®-type block, though it is meant to hold a more educated LEGO®-type block called a TACK-TILE®. Once assembled into the wells of the overlay frame, disassembly is difficult. In place, keyclips are quite rigid. Movement is restricted to one eighth of an inch in one direction on one axis under governance of the relatively weak, but effective, spring. When the keyclip moves forward, inclined surfaces on the keyclip and protrusion meet forcing a flexible piec of the underside of the frame to flex the few thousandths of an inch needed to activate a keystroke.
Limited movement of the keyclip allows unfettered exploration of the Braille surface of the TACK-TILE® frustrating the unintentional, untimely intercession of the CPU. Only when a user pushes the TACK-TILE® away from him/her, does the computer intervene. Braille ought to be explored top to bottom, left to right, the antithesis of activation direction. The computer waits with all the patience a multi-handicapped blind user might require, leaves unmolested any contemplation the learner might desire, yet is easily summoned in its correct time. The TACK-TILES® Braille Systems Keypad fits an IntelliKeys® adapted computer keyboard. A description of IntelliKeys® follows.

The IntelliKeys® keyboard is widely dispersed, well supported, and well understood by special educators. It was designed for disabilities other than visual impairment, and at present is not well suited to this purpose. Very little of the off-the-shelf software being created by the manufacturer or the fifteen or more independent software companies that support this keyboard (Mablesoft, Edmark, Laureate, etc.) incorporates the visually impaired as prospective users. Yet, with the proper interface, much of this wealth can come within reach of that population. The interface is lacking. The TACK-TILES® Braille Systems overlay promises to be that proper interface.
The membrane surface of the IntelliKeys® is a grid of 576 potential keys (a rectangular 24 x 24 grid). The keys may be grouped as needed and assigned function as desired. The TACK-TILES® Braille overlay fits perfectly and tightly over the entire surface, makes use of a maximum of sixty of the available activation sites, de-activating the remaining sites.

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IntelliKeys® is a registered trademark of IntelliTools® of Petaluma, California which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse, this site.

TACK-TILES® is a registered trademark of TACK-TILES® Braille Systems LLC. All rights reserved


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