The BrailleR is a device that is placed on a page and translates the two dimensional written text into three dimensional Braille letters. Just as in reading Braille, the user places three fingers on the BrailleR, instead of the paper, and moves the device across the page. As the device moves, it scans and recognizes the text using OCR software, then utilizing three refreshable Braille displays, braille letters are presented to the user in a newly accessible form. The BrailleR instantly self-refreshes as it moves along the page.
This is a collaboration between Krista Glanville and myself. Krista’s mother, an elementary school librarian was frustrated with the high cost and limited selection of braille books. The alternative of audiobooks was possible, but it was obvious her blind students were not learning when passively listening to the books. I could empathize with her students, because my dyslexia was such problem during my youth I relied heavily audiobooks for my reading until university and I had struggled to gain enough from the audio.
The BrailleR was a winning submission for the 2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Change the World Challenge.