Bristol Braille Technology (BBT), a not-for-profit Bristol company, has developed the world’s first multi-line digital Braille eBook reader, the Canute.
The Canute’s development involved regular feedback from local blind community group the Braillists, and is cheaper than similar devices so expensive that are only available through hand-out schemes.
Blind people who can read Braille are 50 per cent more likely to be employed, but Braille usage and teaching is unfortunately in decline, and the technology surrounding it has stagnated – something BBT is trying to change.
BBT’s technology, which was developed over five years at Bristol Hackspace in Bedminster, promises access to Braille at a cost which is 20 times cheaper per cell than existing digital Braille devices by later this later or early next year.
MD Ed Rodgers said, “Canute offers potential Braille users a better chance of education and employment in their life by learning and using Braille in a radically affordable way. We have been working with a community of Braille users who have been instrumental in the design process.
“We are starting a quiet evolution in Braille literacy here in Bristol and we look forward [to making sure] it spreads around the country and abroad.”