Today we attended the TAR (Technically Assisted Rehabilitation) conference 2020, which took place parallel to OTWorld.connect. Our participation included the publication of an open access paper in "Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering", focusing on user studies we conducted.
News From the Past
The EXPO office of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (Wirtschaftskammer Österreich) asked us to borrow prototypes for an exhibition. These prototypes (not the newest ones) will be on display together with other innovative projects in a display cabinet at the Ars Eletronica Center in Linz for a period of two months. The goal is to raise awareness for iLab, an exhibition area at the upcoming EXPO in Dubai.
Due to the Corona crisis—and therefore limited access to buildings of TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology) and long delivery times—our prototype development is currently massively slowed down. However, our current sponsor, FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency), has granted a further extension of the funding period until the end of July to compensate for some of these inconveniences.
For the last three days we exhibited our work at the Zero Project Conference at the Vienna International Centre. We met several experts who gave us useful input on upcoming challenges and the market for Braille technology.
Today we participated at the START:IP Matching Day, which was initiated by INiTS, one of Europe's top business incubators. Our main goal was to find partners with experience in the business field of niche markets. We gathered some interesting contacts and will have further meetings with three companies.
Michael Treml's diploma thesis, which was one of the first steps in the development of our BrailleRing, was now awarded an audience award at the TÜV Austria Wissenschaftspreis (TÜV Austria science award). TÜV Austria is a leading Austrian service company in the field of technical testing, inspection, certification and training.
The period for our currently running funding from FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency) called Spin-off Fellowship has been extended. Our BrailleRing project will still be based at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology) until the end of February 2020.
Spin-off Fellowship information
The slides from our presentation at IKT-Forum are now available on the hosts website. We enhanced these image-heavy slides by adding comments, so even people who did not attend the conference can get a good impression of our current state of development.
We will give an update on our project on July 9th at the upcoming IKT-Forum in Linz, a conference for people with and without disabilities. Following our presentation, there will be an opportunity to see our current mockups. The conference will be held in German.
Today we had a first meeting with Resch GmbH, an Austrian company from Styria specialized on prototyping and production. It was a very pleasant meeting and Resch will immediately start to manufacture some parts for our next prototypes, hopefully marking the beginning of a long-time collaboration to make our BrailleRing reality.
We were invited to present our project at an event called Venturepreneurship Aula at the University of Graz. Today's Venturepreneurship Aula had a focus on social entrepeneurship. In a short pitch we asked for contacts to manufacturers as possible consulters for the prototyping and as future producers of our BrailleRing. A lot of people were willing to help and shared their contacts with us.
The patent describing our BrailleRing won Staatspreis Patent for the best Austrian invention. The award was presented by the minister of transport, innovation and technology as well as by the president of the Austrian patent office.
For the past three days we showed our mock-ups and our upscaled prototype to a broad audience at the Vienna Research Festival. The working prototype was refined for this event, so we were able to show it in action for all three days. Children loved to type in their names on our laptop and then watch our BrailleRing forming the letters in Braille.
The patent describing our BrailleRing is nominated for Staatspreis Patent, which is the most important award for inventions awarded by the state of Austria. BrailleRing included, two out of four nominees are projects at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology).
Tetragon took first place in WINTEC 2018. WINTEC (Wissenschaftspreis Inklusion durch Naturwissenschaften und Technik) is a prize for inclusion through science and technology. It is awarded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Customer Protection.
Today, the Vienna Business Agency held an event about Social Tech, where we showed our prototypes to a small but curious audience. It was the second time we attended one of these so called "Business Treffs". The first one was in October 2017 and was directly aimed at technologies for blind people.
This week we attended the International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP), presenting our paper "BrailleRing: The Shortest Long Braille-Display in the World – A Review of the State-Of-The-Art and a New Approach". Among other interesting people we also met Michael Curran, who started the popular screen reader NVDA. He would love to include support for our device in his software.
Our ICCHP paper at Springer (Open Access)
The detailed conditions for the Spin-off Fellowship funding we receive are now fixed. Our project "MoBraille" will run for 15 months, starting in September. The funding will cover prototyping, user studies and cooperation with a contract manufacturer. Our goal is to enter the market with a first small batch once the Fellowship is finished.
We were invited by TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology) to join their booth at the WeAreDevelopers World Congress. So we were able to showcase and explain our prototypes to a lot of people who are interested in technology.
Our Braille display is one of only eight projects to receive a new established funding from FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency) called Spin-off Fellowship. Our project will run under the name MoBraille at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology). The goal of this program is to found our startup as a spin-off of the university.
Impact Hub Vienna organized an event called Tech4Good, inviting several projects and startups to show their work. We had a booth to show our prototypes and we also had the opportunity to present our project on stage.
An extended abstract describing the BrailleRing and the state of the art of Braille displays was accepted for the 16th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2018). We will now finish work on the full paper and will present it at the conference next summer at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz.
Now that the Austrian patent has been granted, we are working to extend it to other countries. We recently received the international search report, and we are now discussing different options for our next steps.
Patent AT518530 describing our BrailleRing concept is now officially published. Since its submission to the patent office in July 2016, not a single claim had to be changed, which can be seen as a compelling proof of innovation.
The T-Mobile Environment and Sustainability Fonds support innovative and sustainable projects with their TUN-Award. At today's gala Tetragon was announced to have made 2nd place in this year's awards.
As announced earlier this year, Tetragon was running for the Aspirin Social Innovation Award at Bayer Foundations. Today was the final pitch event in Berlin and the audience was thrilled to see our concept.
Update: It is now officially confirmed that Tetragon is among the winners.
Tetragon's István Deák and Wolfgang Zagler were speakers at the World Health Summit 2017 in Berlin. It was a pleasure to present the BrailleRing project to a global audience, as part of the »Beauty of Impact« book presentation of the Bayer Foundation.
Tetragon among the 5 winners of the Social Impact Award at Impact Hub Vienna.
The Social Impact Award is a four month incubation program with the tagline »Inspiring Students to make a difference«. Workshops, mentoring and access to the Impact Hub network in more than 18 countries aim to facilitate the critical start-up phase of social entrepreneurs creating impact in society.
Last week TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology) published the first press release about Tetragon. As a result several well-known Austrian media like orf.at, derstandard.at and diepresse.com published articles about our refreshable Braille display, some of them not only online but also in their printed formats.
Today Tetragon distributed to a small exhibition at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology), where international guests of the ISPIM Innovation Conference learned about TU Wien startups and the ecosystem around the TU Wien Innovation Incubation Center (i²c). Scientists from different countries showed great interest in Tetragon's BrailleRing.
Impact Hub Vienna selected us as one of ten finalists for the austrian Social Impact Award 2017. There will be an incubation program including two boot camps before the final event in September.
At the 4GAMECHANGERS Festival in Vienna we met Thimo Schmitt-Lord, CEO at Bayer Foundations, in a spontaneous pitch event. In this event we qualified for the next round of the Bayer Foundations' Aspirin Social Innovation Award.
The i²c Networking Friday at TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology) was a big success. Tetragon showed BrailleRing to a broad audience for the first time and got great feedback. Our team won the innovation award in a pitch challenge, which grants us two tickets for the upcoming Pioneers Festival at Hofburg.