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Bid Package for Prospective Vendors

Project: Design and Manufacture of a 40-Cell QWERTY Keyboard Braille Display

Primary APH Contacts:

Larry Skutchan
Director of Technology Product Research
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, KY 40206
Phone: 502-899-2314
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Heather Mackenzie
Technology Program/Project Manager
Phone: 502-899-2355
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Dear prospective vendor:

The enclosed information details the design and manufacturing for a 40-cell braille display with a high-quality QWERTY keyboard. American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. (APH) intends to have a product based on the responses to this request for proposal (RFP).

Please read the enclosed information to determine if your organization is interested in bidding on this project.

Larry Skutchan

Request for Proposal

Posting date: 03/02/2018
Intentions to bid: Within 10 days
Full response: Within 90 days
Bid award: 06/25/2018


All information included in this request for proposal, including any illustrative photographs, schematics, drawings, and any future physical samples sent to you or your assigns are to be considered confidential and proprietary to APH. These items must be kept strictly confidential and shall be returned to APH in the event of a “no bid” or unsuccessful bid on the part of a prospective bidder. All subsequent communication about this RFP, whether electronic, verbal, or hard copy, is confidential and must be considered as such by all parties involved.

Product Overview

A refreshable braille display works in conjunction with a screen reader to provide a blind user with braille output of screen content and to provide keyboard input for controlling the host device.

APH seeks to provide a simple, high-quality 40-cell, 8-dot braille display with a QWERTY keyboard as described below.

General Parameters

Physical Characteristics


The unit permits simple editing of text (UTF-8 text files) or braille files that contain no metadata. Any such files on an SD card or other connected media may be edited, created, or deleted.

Functions in a simple editor include:

File Manager

The unit shall include a file manager that performs the following:


The unit uses LibLouis for onboard braille translation as follows:

Braille Display

High quality QWERTY keyboard


SD Card Slot

Battery and Power


Screen Reader Use

Updates and Source

Compliance Specifications:

Design approval will consist of a unit that is easily manufactured and meets with all generally accepted braille display conventions including the following:


The bid package shall include:


The submitted design must be presented in a commercially accepted form that allows any qualified firm in the industry to manufacture the product using commercially available materials and known processes.

Physical Samples

No physical samples are available on this item.

Tooling and Pre-Production Samples

Once designs are finalized & the project moves in to the tooling phase pre-production samples will be required to proof out all tooling including any physical molds & any tooling needed for the circuitry. These samples will be free of charge & free of any shipping charges.


We realize it will take some time to fully compile all of the needed information to make an informed response to this request for proposal. We ask that you review the enclosed information and reply within 10 days with your intention to bid providing an estimated timetable needed to complete your proposal. This initial estimate of time required to bid the project should be received by APH within 90 days of receipt of this package. Should you decide not to bid, please return all materials and indicate a “no bid” response. Return all materials to: Attn: Larry Skutchan, American Printing House for the Blind, 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206.

Winning Bid Selection

Your bid is appreciated and will be given due consideration based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:

APH shall review all proposals and announce the winning bid 45 days after receipt of all responses.


Should questions arise regarding this project we ask you to direct inquiries of a technical nature to the Technology Product Research Department. Questions regarding the bidding can be addressed to either the Director of Technology Product Research or the Technology Product Research Department. See listing above for contact information on both individuals.


Larry Skutchan
Director of Technology Product Research
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.

Heather MacKenzie
Technical Program/Project Manager
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.