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Modern Technology And Braille Essay

918 words - 4 pages

The recent history of the visually impaired is riddled with illiteracy and inconvenient methods of writing that put sighted students at a huge advantage over their visually impaired classmates. Take the story of Gerard Guarniero, for example – he spent eighth grade using a metal device that, while it enabled him to write in Braille, took him “three to four hours times as long to write the same paper as his sighted classmates.” However, Mr. Guarniero has not been in eighth grade for more than 40 years; since then, technology for Braille students has changed dramatically, and for the better.
Modern Braille embossers have paved a way for visually impaired students to do schoolwork, access ...view middle of the document...

However, despite their usefulness in classrooms and personal lives, Braille printers are costly machines. Braille note-takers can cost about $15,000 (“Braille FAQs) and Braille printers cost, on average, $2,000 (Spendlove). “A blind or partially sighted person being able to use Braille is like a sighted person able to use a pen,” says the New Zealand Blind Foundation. Therefore, like sighted people with access to books are at an advantage educationally personally, a blind person who has access to a Braille printer and reading materials in their preferred medium is at more of an advantage than a visually impaired individual who does not have the monetary resources to access these tools. This means that a blind student who may want to read may not be able to learn how, and will be at a much greater disadvantage than their sighted peers.
This problem is currently being remedied by 12-year-old Shubham Banerjee, a sighted middle school student who recently created a Braille printer from Legos for a fraction of what most blind people would pay for one – the low, low cost of $350 (Spendlove). “He would like the device to be open source with plans for the build and the programming both available online,” writes Tom Spendlove, a writer for engineering.com. The printer – which is being called Braigo – would solve many issues surrounding the cost of a $2,000 printer, and does the same thing. “…out of curiosity, I just asked my parents how do blind people read? So, then I learned about Braille and how it works and all the Braille printers, how it can be very costly at times. So, then I thought it would actually be cool to combine my love with Legos and do something good with it....

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