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PDT has worked with Perkins Products to equip the world’s most widely used braille writer with first-of-its-kind multi-sensory technology designed to make learning and teaching braille easier. Literacy through braille is critical to enabling people who are blind to find employment and achieve financial independence.
Current high-tech braille products only work if users already know braille. The new Perkins SMART Brailler® gets even new users connected instantly to braille. PDT worked with teachers, parents and consumers who are visually impaired throughout the roughly two-year development process. The SMART Brailler® features instantaneous audio and visual feedback and Acapela text-to-speech (in English, and a range of other languages), plus downloadable lessons for braille beginners, and electronic document saving, editing and transfer capability via USB. Because it is built around a Perkins Next Generation Brailler®, the new device also generates hard copy braille as the user types.
The impact will be felt worldwide. John Godber, Head of Products and Publications for the UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), says, “This is the biggest step forward for learning braille since the invention of the Perkins Brailler [in 1951].”
With this new assistive technology, sighted teachers, classmates and parents can also work alongside students, providing a new level of learning support and making the inclusion of students who are blind into mainstream classrooms far more possible than ever before. Perkins Products Vice President & General Manager David Morgan says, “We are convinced that this truly levels the playing field and de-mystifies the braille ‘code’ to allow a shared learning experience for all – student, parent, teacher, friend. Adults who are losing their sight get a big screen and large text to learn braille independently.”
In 2008, PDT worked with Perkins Products to develop a lighter, more efficient and durable Next Generation Perkins Brailler that is now actively used in classrooms and homes around the world. Because the Perkins Brailler is used globally already, adaptation to the SMART version will be seamless. Special training is not required.
Learn more at http://www.perkins.org/smartbrailler/