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Bid Package for Prospective Vendors

Project: Design Of A 40-Cell Qwerty Keyboard Braille Display

Primary APH Contacts:

Director of Technology Product Research:
Larry Skutchan
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Ave
Louisville, Ky 40206
Phone: 502-899-2314
Email: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Technology Program/Project Manager:
Heather Mackenzie
Phone: 502-899-2355
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Dear prospective vendor:

The enclosed information details the design 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 manufactured based on the design from this bid. The manufacturing phase shall be bid separately, once a successful design is selected.

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


Larry Skutchan

Request for Proposal

Posting Date: 2/22/2016
Intentions to Bid: within 10 days (on or before 3/03/2016)
Full Response: within 60 days (on or before 5/02/2016)
Bid Award: 6/17/2016


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 via hard copies is confidential and must be considered sensitive and confidential 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 to screen content and to provide keyboard input for controlling the host device.

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

In an effort to keep operation simple and costs low, local functionality is limited to reading and simple editing of files from SD card. The device contains no sophisticated editing or file translation functionality. That is all done by the host device such as the application running on the PC or portable device. Editing software, like Microsoft Word provides a complete writing environment. Screen readers provide the braille translation capabilities.


The unit permits simple editing of plain text or braille files that contain no metadata. This editing includes the ability to create, write, and alter any file on the SD card.

Braille Display

High quality QWERTY keyboard



Special Keys


SD Card Slot

Battery and Power


Screen Reader Use

Switching Between Local and Screen Reader Use

  • Switch to local FN+F5
  • Switch to display mode FN+F6

Switch Keyboards

  • Switch to Braille keyboard FN+F7
  • Switch to QWERTY keyboard FN+F8
  • Switch to Apple style FN+F9
  • Switch to Windows style FN+F10

Performance Specifications:

The manufactured product from this design should conform to generally accepted specifications to make it compatible with all screen readers.

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

    The proposed design must take in to account the child safety laws. All chosen materials must meet FDA, toxic substances, OSHA and EPA regulations; and the requirements of California Proposition 65.
    No toxic, latex, or hazardous materials should be accessible to the user. Vendor is responsible for conducting testing certifying the materials comply with the new consumer product safety improvement act of August 2008 and the current standards of the CPSIA. Materials should meet limits of lead, phthalate, heavy metals, and other materials as noted in the law. The components & solder for the product must be RoHS compliant. Each shipment of product must be tested and certified on all regulatory requirements.
    This device should comply to all applicable FCC, ETL, CE, & UL regulations & requirements.


The bid package shall include design(s), drawings, full documentation, complete bills of materials, complete bill of costs, a proof of design prototype and manufacturing costs, assuming a yearly quantity of 500 units. Design costs should be separate from manufacturing costs. At its option, APH may award the manufacturing bid to a different bidder where the design and manufacturing are performed by two separate and unrelated entities. APH reserved the right to accept or reject any or all bids.


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.

Intellectual Property:

All drawings, documents, materials developed to produce the items in the bid package shall become the property of APH. As such, the vendor is required to send all drawings, documentation, and others product artifacts and any duplicate thereof to APH.

Physical Samples:

No physical samples are available on this item.

Tooling and Pre-Production Samples:



We realize it will take some time to fully compile all of the needed information to respond intelligently to this request for bid. We ask that you review the enclosed information for a few days and reply within 10 days with your intention to bid providing an estimated timetable you will need to complete your proposal. This initial estimate of time required to bid the project should be received by APH within two months of receipt of this package. Should you decide not to bid, please return all materials and indicate a “no bid” response. Please return all materials to: Attn: Larry Skutchan, American Printing House for the Blind, 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206. A complete bid response in 60 days or less is preferred.

Winning Bid Selection:

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

  • Complexity of design
  • All vendor quantifiable requirements are met
  • Development and manufacturing costs
  • Quality
  • Manufacturability

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.