Bristol Braille Technology

Demo of 4 line Canute prototype well received by Braillists

append delete Ed Rogers

Download the press release:
http://bristolbraille.co.uk/articles/canute_public_media_release.pdf
http://bristolbraille.co.uk/articles/canute_public_media_release.zip (including images)

Bristol Braille Technology has successfully demonstrated a 4 line prototype of Canute: expected to be the world's first multiline Braille ebook reader, which will cost less than a Braille typewriter and a fraction of the price of existing single line displays.

On Monday the 8th of September Bristol Braille Technology, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company run by volunteers, presented the Canute prototype to a group of a dozen Braillists in the Pervasive Media Studio, central Bristol. The group, who meet every other month from around the country to discuss advances in Braille technology, were overwhelmingly positive about Canute and its potential impact on Braille literacy.

The group discussed the advantages of Canute's intended final format of 28 characters by 8 lines for a lower price (estimated to be £300--440) than a Perkins Brailler™ typewriter. It was agreed that such a device would be a great boon to schools and colleges, would encourage greater adoption of Braille, not least in developing countries, and would allow individuals the freedom to purchase their own devices without subsidy.

Canute is intended to be primarily a reading device, a Braille ebook reader, as opposed to an advanced editing tool. The Braillists therefore discussed how Canute could compliment rather than replace existing single line Braille displays as a secondary `screen', especially in STEM subjects where the multiline context of tables and formulae are invaluable.

At the conclusion of the meeting Canute's ability to double up as an embosser was successfully tested. This, it was agreed, meant schools and colleges that could only afford a single unit could use it to emboss material for the entire class, and that individuals could emboss quick notes, shopping lists, recipes or letters directly off Canute's surface.

Scott Wood said: "So with Canute we would have a 28 cell by 8 line refreshable Braille that can also create hard copy Braille ... That would be amazing!"

Matt Horspool said: "At the moment we have students working on Braille notetakers. Every time they tally charts they have to revert to a Perkins [typewriter] as it's the only way you're going to see more than one line. Whereas we could say, `You can use this Bristol Braille reader'."

James Bowden said: "In the future it may be possible that there'll be all kinds of applications for Canute: ebook readers, spreadsheets, tables ... In some ways your imagination's the limit."

Ed Rogers, Founder and Director of Bristol Braille Technology, said: "Monday was the fruit of almost two years' work from the team, so it was great to see all their efforts finally validated. We're looking forward to developing Canute further over the next year as we prepare for manufacture, and are now keener than ever to work with institutions and companies with an interest in furthering the cause of universal literacy."

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append delete #1. Private

My name's Private, from Thailand. I very happy when read this good news. I work at Thailand service co-operative of the blind ltd. or call TSCB. I still following you Thanks..

append delete #2. Fantasy

This is great that Canute is getting closer and closer to completion. I have Usher Syndrome and am both blind and hearing impaired. I had to teach myself Braille and it took me a year before I could read a real Braille book. I can still remember the joy and sense of achievement the first time my fingers read a whole full page even though it took me a whole day to complete ...going over and over the words until I finally could feel them correctly.

But over the years some much of that initial joy has gone. As a sci-fi and fantasy fan there are only a very few Braille books available from the RNIB library and many of them are so old now that the Braille has totally flattened in places. It just became so, so frustrating. I would go into a bookshop with a sighted friend and there would be shelf after shelf of new books I would so enjoy reading.. but with Braille production being so expensive I would be lucky to find just one of them put into braille... and most likely not even one.

But with Canute I could download new fantasy titles from my local library to my computer and suddenly all those books could be mine to read on my pc with this great piece of affordable equipment.

E BOOKS are mainstream and proving increasingly popular with many sighted people wanting them too. So thousands and thousands of people read them... there are new up to day fantasy novels available as eBooks... It would open up the world for so many blind people giving up back real choice in what we read. Access to a huge range of new reading material. Make it accessible to visually impaired pc users and more than anything that will encouraging the newly blind to learn Braille.. whether that be child or adult. This new and finally afordable refreshable Braille display will not be just useful it will be fun too.. and that is what I think is needed ... to have the fun put back into Braille again. to get that joy of reading something new and up to date like anyone else. A boom you actually will enjoy instead of having to make do with the extremely limited choice and old Braille books from the rnib. Just think.. books to read that were not brailled up 10 years ago! now that will encourage so many new braille readers.

This is something great that you and your team have achieved here... a truly affordable braille display for people like me who have little money. I started saving for it two years ago and will soon have that 330! so so looking forward to getting one eventually.

Gaela

append delete #3. 4

E BOOKS are mainstream and proving increasingly popular with many sighted people wanting them too. So thousands and thousands of people read them... there are new up to day fantasy novels available as eBooks... It would open up the world for so many blind people giving up back real choice in what we read. Access to a huge range of new reading material. Make it accessible to visually impaired pc users and more than anything that will encouraging the newly blind to learn Braille.. whether that be child or adult. This new and finally afordable refreshable Braille display will not be just useful it will be fun too.. and that is what I think is needed ... to have the fun put back into Braille again. to get that joy of reading something new and up to date like anyone else. A boom you actually will enjoy instead of having to make do with the extremely limited choice and old Braille books from the rnib. Just think.. books to read that were not brailled up 10 years ago! now that will encourage so many new braille readers.
This is something great that you and your team have achieved here... a truly affordable braille display for people like me who have little money. I started saving for it two years ago and will soon have that 330! so so looking forward to getting one eventually.

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