A British company has plans to launch a Braille e-reader for blind people in 2019 and this will greatly enhance their reading experience and will also spare them from putting hefty print volumes.
Such technology was developed by Louis Braille in the 19th Century, wherein the alphabet of raised dots brought the joy of reading to millions of blind and partially-sighted people. In its printed form, it is not very much convenient or portable: A Braille copy of the Bible could take about 5 feet (1.5 meters) of shelf space, which is definitely not feasible.
British firm Bristol Braille Technology wishes to change this with Canute 360, which is their new ‘Kindle for the blind’ and it says that this is the world’s first multi-line Braille e-reader, and it displays nine lines of text at a time, which is about a third of a page of regular print.
Stephanie Sergeant, the person whose company Vision Through Sound provides training to the blind people and has been working with Bristol Braille said- “This means you only have to press the forward button every 360 characters instead of every 20. It refreshes a line one at a time, starting from the top. So even though it takes very little time for all the lines to be refreshed, readers can start reading almost as soon as they press the forward key.“
Any text which is translated into Braille format can be downloaded into the Canute, and this will potentially put an endless supply of reading material at the user’s fingertips.
The proportion of blind people that can read Braille lettering (combination of one to six dots) has fallen since advances in audio description technology haven’t been kept up-to-date by the blinds.
But Bristol Braille said that learning to read can significantly boost literacy as well as numeracy rates among the blind.
The final prototype of Canute will be entering the mass production this year and has been similar to that of a high-end laptop.
Claire Maxwell, the senior product developer for Braille at the Royal National Institute of Blind People said- “Innovations in the field of Braille technology will make this a very exciting time for Braille readers.“