It was heartening this week to see not just one new appliance made especially for the blind – but two. Both are label printers designed and developed in isolation of each other by two different research team,s and both offer their own unique benefits and advantages. The fact is, super-clever gadgets for the visually impaired have not gone unnoticed over the last few years or so, and only recently the industry has seen such technology as a blind cane that is GPS and smart-phone equipped, and a braille iPad case come to market.
The Braille-It Labeler
The Braille-It Labeler was introduced for the first time at the “A better World Design” conference which meets annually in the USA with a goal of connecting students, professionals, and individuals from different disciplines. The conference strives to build a global community of socially-conscious innovators. Ted Moallem, who invented the label printer explained how customers can easily create helpful labels.
The device uses a simple six-button design that allows visually impaired users to print out adhesive labels in Braille. The labels are invaluable for identifying everyday items like medicine containers, food packaging, or audio devices, which is essential for both productivity and safety.
6dot Braille Labelmaker
Meanwhile, on the other side of America in Toronto University, a group of engineering students have taken the above concept one stage further by adding the element of mobility. As in the version above, visually impaired users push six keys on the ergonomic device. One key for each of the dots that make up a Braille character – to emboss any character, including contractions, on a roll of adhesive tape. An internal microprocessor can store up to 16 characters. For mobility the label printer works on AA batteries and input method is similar to normal braille typewriters – quality of print is expected to be high.
Still in development, the designers believe the 6dot might cost as little as $200 when released, less than half the cost of some other Braille label makers.