The 2009 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) produced a first place device that is so unique there's no way it couldn't win. The Haptic Reader created in tandem by researchers at Handong Global University and Keimyung University in South Korea is a device that can change the way blind readers receive instant braille.
The Haptic Reader looks like a flatbed scanner, in this case users place their typed text on the scanner and it's converted into Braille by raising the surface of the device on the opposite side of the paper.
The reader is also capable of producing text to voice files for those cases in which braille isn't convenient or for non-blind readers looking to create a voice file from their typed text. [via EveryJoe]