Tactile display using shape memory alloy micro-coil actuator and magnetic latch mechanism

T. Matsunaga, K. Totsu, M. Esashi, Y. Haga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


A two-dimensional tactile display for visually impaired people was fabricated and successfully operated. Character and graphic information is dynamically displayed by an array of pins in up and down positions. The contraction of shape memory alloy (SMA) micro-coil actuators moves the pins up and down when the SMA actuator is heated by an electrical current. A tube fabricated from magnetic material is attached to each pin and a permanent magnet accurately positions the pins in an up or down state without any feedback control. This latch mechanism overcomes problems of heat storage and electrical consumption of the SMA actuator because the current is supplied only when the pins move. The tactile display has a 100 (10 × 10) pins array. The tactile information is displayed sequentially every 0.3 s and the tactile pins are latched at 0.1 N by magnetic force. The pins are arranged at a pin interval of 2.5 mm and move 2 mm up and down. Furthermore, in order to offer tactile graphic information, the interval between pins is narrow. A module for the tactile display with pin intervals of 1.27 mm has also been developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Braille display
  • Magnetic latch mechanism
  • SMA coil actuator
  • Tactile display


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