In a world where the visually-impaired are increasingly relying on digital devices, only 10 percent of blind children are being taught Braille, meaning 9 out of 10 blind children cannot read. To help change that, a group of Atlanta middle school students have invented a device to help children learn, MyFoxAtlanta.com reported. Last week, their device, the Insta-Braille, was named a finalist for the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award.
The six students, part of a homeschool robotics team called “The Braille Boys and Annie”— because Annie Torre joined the team late— started by each taking apart a children’s sound book to see how it worked. They were then challenged to use that technology to create a device to teach Braille.
“The Insta-Braille is basically a child’s storybook. We remove the pages and put stickers on top of the dots on the pages,” Torre told My Fox Atlanta.
To use the Insta-Braille, a reader feels a Braille character, pushes the button, then hears the word of the alphabet it represents.
Ashley Phillips, a teacher at the Atlanta Center for the Visually Impaired, grew up learning the language, a pattern of dots. Her students are using the Insta-Braille to learn to read.
Jasmine Robinson, 8, likes the Insta-Braille because she said it’s fun.
“And it teaches me the easiest way to do it,” she told the news channel.
As one of three teams in the finals for the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award, the students will head to Washington, D.C. in June to vie for the $20,000 first prize.