It seems recently in this class, many of us have focused on how technology is, in one way or another, steadily depleting our abilities to be self-sufficient. However, I recently came across an article that once again proves to the world why Apple is the leading technology manufacturer in business, and for a good reason. Apple has developed a way for the visually impaired to use their button-less, touchscreen technology. They have created a small, light-weight device about the length and width of the average keyboard, called the refreshable Braille display. The wireless device is connected to the iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth and allows the blind to use their iPhone by translating the on-screen text into it’s corresponding words in braille in the form of small pins that stick out of the surface of the display. You navigate through your Apple device using six small thumb-sized buttons on either side of the braille display with one button for enter. The technology is really quite incredible and opens up a number of groundbreaking doors in the world of blind-technology interaction.
Explained in the article, the use of Braille in the blind community has drastically fallen in the past couple decades due to a number of text-to-speech technologies that have come out. The reason why this new device by Apple is so incredible is it has been proven that learning through braille, as opposed to text-to-speech, drastically improves a person’s ability to, not only obtain and recall important information about language, but secure you a job. “”In business meetings it’s more unobtrusive to use Braille. If I want to multitask, headphones are rude, but Braille is acceptable,” said Fleet” (Chaudhuri). Text-to-speech can be distracting to co-workers whereas braille allows you to multitask freely without distraction. The major problem the product is facing right now is how expensive these devices can be. If blind educational systems want to use these devices to teach their students, the price is going to need to drop drastically and that is currently the product’s major focus.
Read about this incredible technology in the original article here:
Braille Comes Unbound From the Book: How Technology Can Stop a Literary Crisis