For those with some form of visual impairment, Braille characters are an important tool for taking in printed material. As the world has changed into the digital age, printed pages have largely given way to 1s and 0s in computer memory, and tiny visual dots on a computer screen. While there are tools available that translate digital text into Braille characters, these tend to be quite expensive, costing over $1,000. Naturally, you wouldn't want to give one of these to kids at a very young age, but a less expensive device, especially kid-themed, would be an excellent teaching tool.
That's the thinking behind BecDot, developed by Father Jacob Lacourse, whose daughter Rebecca (thus the name BecDot) was born with Usher Syndrome, the leading cause of deaf/blindness. The device uses an NFC tag system to identif y toys that are placed in the reader area, producing the corresponding Braille letters on four pads. This prototype device uses an Arduino Uno for control, along with a system to raise and lower the dots that will allow the device to be produced and sold for under $100.
This much lower price means that many more families will be able to afford to use this type of device with kids, and the integration of physical toys will make it much more approachable. Check it out in use with Rebecca's big sister Reagan in the video above!
The BecDot Braille Teaching Tool was originally published in Hackster's Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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