Bristol Braille Technology

Canute at CSUN 2016: Multiline Braille eReader Developed to Support Blind Literacy

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Canute, a new type of Braille eReader is being presented this week at the world’s leading conference on technology and disability held in San Diego California. The low cost multiline Braille eReader is being developed by Ed Rogers, a social entrepreneur from Bristol, to increase access to the written word for blind people around the world.

Canute shows multiple Braille lines, making document formatting and tabulated information much more understandable for blind readers. Canute is made with off-the-shelf components and mainstream tools, resulting in a multiline display that is expected to cost a fraction of existing single line products.

“Blind people are often expected to read eBooks either by listening to computerised voices or with specialist single-line Braille computers costing thousands of dollars.” Explains Ed Rogers, director of Bristol Braille Technology, a community interest company established in 2012 to revolutionise literacy amongst the blind. “Ultimately we want Canute to become a sort of Braille Kindle for blind people.”

National blindness organisations in the UK and the US report a strong link between Braille literacy and the employability of blind people. High profile blind people often identify Braille as being key in their success. Yet only a small proportion of blind schoolchildren can read and write Braille fluently. Affordable Braille technology is viewed as a vital ingredient for reversing this decline.

Braille is a simple pattern of raised dots for representing written language. The dots are arranged so individual characters or words can fit under a readers fingertip. Blind people in almost every country have used Braille to read and write everything from algebra to Austin for over 150-years. But with cheaper text to speech systems now widely available, Braille’s popularity has waned in recent decades.

The “CSUN Conference” as it is known in the industry, Is the world’s largest gathering of assistive technology experts. The annual event in San Diego provides a unique opportunity for disabled people to connect with assistive technology developers and suppliers. Rogers is seeking partners to support Canute’s development and eventual production.

The 2016 CSUN Conference will be held in San Diego, CA from March 21 to March 26, 2016 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel. The session “How to Make a Braille eBook Reader” will be presented on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 4:20 PM PST.
Bristol Braille Technology is a Community Interest Company Striving to revolutionise blind literacy.

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append delete #1. BoydHoeger

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