Frequently Asked Questions
We are excited to be sharing ELIA Frames across the country and the world. The Starter Kits are critical for that effort because they can be used by multiple readers to master ELIA Frames and maintain their independence and literacy.
As a general over view - our goal is to produce at least 500 Starter Kits for distribution, and to also print an initial library of books as well. We plan to distribute those materials to organizations who serve our community.
When we began the Kickstarter, we had been working with the Lighthouse Guild in New York City. They have been a research partner, and their team has advised us, for over a decade. Our work would not have been possible without their collaboration. So we are thrilled that starter kits will be available at Lighthouse Guild for training and practice.
There are 50,000 people in New York City who are blind or have a visual impairment, and Lighthouse Guild is the largest of several organizations in the city that serves them. We knew that even if we were only collaborating with Lighthouse, our initial set of materials would be put to good use. People will be able to learn ELIA Frames and take materials home for practice and use. And they will receive labels that they can keep. They will return the learning materials for reuse and will receive new reading materials.
Since the beginning of the Kickstarter, we have begun discussions with additional organizations. The Washington DC Public Library has agreed to also host our learning and reading materials. So starter kits will be available in NY and DC! We will be sending them materials printed from our wax jet printers before the Starter Kit is available in September.Last updated:
The ELIA Frames™ font is the standard Roman alphabet revised and refined to be as tactilely legible as possible. It incorporates familiar elements of the standard alphabet with which previously sighted readers are already familiar, and places those defining elements within a system of frames that provides clear character boundaries at any scale, as well as grouping each letter into a subset of characters for easier memorization and recall. The familiar elements make the font easy for people to learn, and the frames enable readers to read the letters quickly and accurately at all sizes.Last updated:
Materials in the ELIA Frames™ font are currently printed with a modified Xerox/Tektronix Phaser 300X Printer, which can print any text in tactile form on standard paper, including ELIA Frames™. The printer layers wax to create a crisp tactile output. While flexible in its capacity, the output wears down over time and is slow to print.
So we have come to Kickstarter to recruit a community of readers! Through the pledges, we will engage a commercial printer to print our current instruction manual with an embossing machine. This requires a minimum order of manuals, so Kickstarter is a perfect tool to gather individual orders and then produce a more durable and reusable instruction manual. (We will also be producing labels, but those we can print with our 3-D printer.)
In addition to those current printing solutions, we are currently developing an affordable tactile printer that will enable users to print ELIA Frames™ or braille themselves. We are also be developing a tactile tablet. This tablet will be similar to the bed-of-nails toy matrix of tactile pins, except that the cells of the display screen will protract and retract from the surface to create tactile images and text, including ELIA Frames™ , braille and tactile graphics like maps, charts, and line drawings.Last updated:
The ELIA Frames™ font is scalable to any size, just like any other font on your computer. We introduce new readers to the font at a larger size so that they can familiarize themselves with the characteristics of each letter, after which they can reduce the font size to whatever scale they are most comfortable with.
For previously sighted people, ELIA Frames can be read at with greater speed and accuracy than braille at the same font size. Indeed, at every font size, previously sighted readers are faster and more accurate with ELIA than with braille. But that's not surprising, ELIA Frames is simply the standard alphabet (which they know already) and it has been designed to be read tactilely. So there isn't really translating one font to the normal alphabet, as there is with braille. The challenge for them is merely one of learning to read with one's fingers, and improving in that ability.Last updated:
While contractions reduce the size of printed texts and can improve reading speed, they also add complexity and have limited utility for new readers. For this reason, they haven't been a top priority for us at this stage of our work. Fortunately, we have additional letter designs in reserve to be utilized as contractions or other characters, and braille contractions could easily be used as the basis for contractions in ELIA Frames™. When we do make them available, each reader will have the choice of using the contractions or not.Last updated:
The ELIA Frames font currently can be used to render upper- and lower-case Roman alphabet characters that are used for texts written in English. The ten Arabic numerals are also designed. So any language that can be written with these characters is already supported.
We have versions of ELIA Frames for other languages and alphabets, but have not rigorously tested and analyzed the new designs. If you are interested in being involved in that effort, contact us and we will keep you updated regarding the new efforts.Last updated:
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