In this mini series of blogs, I've looked at the role of technology and how it has evolved in a couple of areas. The intention is not to cover it all and certainly it's taken from one perspective; there are many views and experiences that I'd love to capture in blog posts written by yourselves. Technology is a hugely popular topic in the VI Talk group and it's great to read about the types of tech used and how it can or on occasion doesn't enhance lives. It would be great to share this here which in turn will share your expereinces widely to anyone visiting the VI Talk website.
Braille has received quite a bit of attention tech wise over the years. I'm always going to be greatful for this because it enabled me to get my first full time job in teaching at the Royal National College in hereford. Braille, in my mind, is such a vital and essential tool for literacy, for reading and for accessing information. However, it's use has dropped over the years, as other means of reading and gaining information have increased.
Braille technology is a fairly wide area. Essentially, it is an electronic means of utilising braille; either in production or in relaying information from bespoke or mainstream technologies. For example, a braille based notetaker/computer such as a Braille note touch or a computer linked display such as a Brailliant or focus. The problem for many with this technology is that the cost has been beyond the pice range of many people. Due to the small levels of production, high research and development costs and the relatively low commercial demand, prices for these devices were always going to be high. Commercially understandable but it takes away the vbenefit of Braille technology from the groups and individuals that it would benefit.
There have been moves over the last few years to try and come up with a device that is relatively cheap, accessible and sturdy enough to be reliable and stand the test of time. Such devices have been made but it seems that a relatively new braille display/unit has taken hold in the market. The orbit reader, which is priced around £400 has made accessing Braille more affordable in the technology market. This being, A device which can either be linked to a computer or be used as a stand alone reading unit.
Although I have had a lookat one of these devices, I haven't used one in full and therefore couldn't review it properly. However, it would be interesting to hear from those of you who have. Could you write a review here and give your thoughts and experiences. Is this a device that really opens up the world again to braille literacy? Please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and write an article for us with your thoughts. Additionally, why not widen that out to your opinions on the relavence and use of braille in general.