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The 4th of January marks World Braille Day! As it’s the birthday of the inventor of the dotted code, Louis Braille, it’s a great opportunity to recognise his efforts and raise awareness about the challenges faced by people who are visually impaired and blind.
What is Braille?
Braille is code (not a language, although can be translated into many languages) that is used as a way to read and write for people who are visually impaired and blind. It’s traditionally written with embossed paper, although Braille users can now read on computer screens with refreshable braille displays.
Who was Louis Braille?
Louis Braille, originally from Coupvray in France, suffered an accident while he was a toddler and by the time he was five, he was completely blind in both eyes. Originally, he learned a communication system devised by Captain Charles Barbier of the French Army, which he called “night writing” – a code compiled of dashes and dots in thick paper and can be interpreted by the touch of a finger.
Louis Braille found Barbier’s communication of writing too complicated. By the time he was fifteen, he found a way to simplify Barbier’s system. By trimming 12 dots to six, he found 63 ways to use a six-dot cell in an area of fingertip—and then, braille was born!
In 1952, Louis Braille’s accomplishments were recognised and his body was exhumed from the village cemetery and buried in the Pantheon in Paris with other French national heroes.
AT For People who are Visually Impaired & Blind
There is a lot of assistive tech that is out there that can help people who are visually impaired and blind. AT can help overcome obstacles and allow each individual to reach their potential. Take a look at some of our assistive technology that can aid with electronic user experience.
Pearl & Openbook
OpenBook converts printed or graphic-based documents into an electronic format on your PC that uses high quality speech recognition and the latest Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. The Openbook is ideal for people who are blind or have low vision as it gives access to printed and electronic materials. When partnered with the PEARL document camera, they both create a complete scanning and reading system for work, home and school.
As part of the business and classroom features, the OpenBook can emboss Braille documents directly from OpenBook.
High Visibility Keyboards
We have a selection of high visibility keyboards that are ideal for individuals with visual impairments, as they feature larger letters. We have a range of keyboards in different colours, which improve visibility depending on your personal preferences.
There are also keyboards that are suitable for children with visual impairments, such as the Monster 2 Keyboards, which have fun, large keys and help children learn to type.
JAWS Professional v18
JAWS is the world’s most popular screen reader and is suitable for people with vision loss of all ages and abilities. It reads aloud content that is displayed on computer screens in a human-like synthesised speech.
JAWS Professional provides useful commands to enhance that will enhance the user’s experiences when editing document, reading web pages and outputs a refreshable Braille display. The software can help with many day-to-day web based tasks such as online banking or shopping with JAWS’ smart navigation.
We hope our assistive tech recommendations have been helpful and has offered you an insight into what’s available if you have a visual impairment or are blind.
- If you are interested in other news from us, check out our blogs where we recently shared our tips on creating accessible online and printed content.
If you have any questions on our range of assistive tech that can help visual impairments, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of staff on 01123 420 101 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.