Braille frees the mind & the spirit

Bristol Braille Technology

“Braille frees the mind & the spirit”

“Braille is on the verge of a global catastrophe … My broad, conceptual proposal for saving Braille is to democratize it, to take Braille out of the hands of professionals & put it into the hands of the people … Slash the cost of refreshable Braille.”

— Kevin Carey, Chairman of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, speaking generally about the situation in July 2012

Bristol Braille will slash the cost of Braille literacy with the world’s first commercially viable multiline refreshable Braille. Canute will be an eight line Braille e-book reader for blind people priced £300–440; a fraction of the cost of existing single line displays.

And we are proud to announce our newest invention, Midas, which, at a cost of less than £100, will turn any surface into a page of refreshable Braille.

Why do we need to act now?

  • Blind people who can read Braille are 50% more likely to be employed.
  • Braille usage is in decline, Braille teaching is in decline & Braille technology has stagnated.
  • Are we content to watch the continued decline of blind literacy in the 21st century?

Why Bristol Braille?

  • We are a not-for-profit Community Interest Company part run by volunteers.
  • Working with Action for Blind People, School for Social Entrepreneurs & others.
  • Operating out of Bristol Hackspace, a co-operative workshop for engineers.

Why Canute & Midas?

  • They will be affordable by individuals—not just governments & corporations.
  • Designed to be locally repairable & useful for decades to come, like the common bicycle.
  • Made with Open Source software & running entirely on Open Source firmware.

What still needs to be done?

  • Proof-of-concepts have been completed, prototype development is underway.
  • We’re collaborating with the Bristol Braillists for feedback and user testing.
  • Further funding is required to get these vital tools into people’s hands.

Can you contribute?

  • We’re on track to demonstrate a four line Canute prototype by mid-August.
  • However the project is due to run out of funds by the beginning of August.
  • Even a small donation helps get Canute to mass manufacture by winter 2015.



Joel’s note: Special thanks to my friend Joseph Fagnani at Altoona, PA for alerting me to this significant step toward rejuvenating Braille.

Braille technology gives the blind the ability to become scientists and engineers. Braille makes mathematical and scientific concepts accessible to the blind. No subsequent technology has proven comparable. Decline in Braille literacy represents an economic crisis for the blind


Special thanks to my friend Joseph Fagnani my friend in Altoona, PA for bringing this to my attention. Braille makes it possible for the blind to become scientists and engineers. No comparable technology makes entry to the world of science and math as accessible to the blind as braille. The decline in braille represents a major economic crisis for the visually impaired.


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