Budget Braille e-readers an affordable solution to reading electronic braille

Braille e-readers could bring multi-line braille displays to the finger tips of blind readers at affordable prices.

Current refreshable braille displays allow great access to electronic reading resources, but many are bulky and designed to use at a desk, they present characters a line at a time and are priced in the thousands.

The advantage of Braille e-readers, according to Scott Wood from Action for Blind People is that people would be able to scan back and forth across more words. The multi-line displays would also allow the study of mathematical and scientific formulas.

The concept for Braille e-readers was first sparked by four South Korean designers when they published mock-ups of what they might look like.

Yet five years on, the only working prototype called Annagraphs, created by Leicestershire-based firm Pera Technology is in danger of never making it to the shelves due to lack of funding. Furthermore, a long-term decline in the reading of braille (with an estimated 1% of blind people in the UK reading braille daily) makes what is already a niche market even less appealing to major brands.

However, the norm of relying on audio content or material read by screen readers can increase the difficulty for blind people to become familiar with spelling and paragraphing, making writing more of a challenge.

This is one of the factors driving another UK company Bristol Braille Technologies to bring braille E-readers to market.

“We are working to reverse the decline in literacy amongst blind people by making radical new and more affordable Braille e-book readers,” said director Ed Rogers. “We aim to produce a new class of device with 224 characters for as little as £300.”

Read the full article on the BBC News website.

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