Firstly a warm welcome to everyone, especially to our new newsletter subscribers many of whom met us at Sight Village South East recently – more on that below.
We also have news of the next Reading Braillists meeting on Saturday 8th December, the latest on Bristol Braille’s progress, info on the current episode of Braillecast, and an interesting project in which several Braillists members are involved helping indigenous Braille readers in South Africa.
On Saturday 8th December the Reading Braillists will meet to demo some of the latest exciting advances in affordable refreshable Braille including the long awaited Orbit Reader and the latest Canute prototype. They’ll also be discussing the research of a Reading University student on the impact and relevance of Braille today.
The meeting will be from 12 PM until 2 PM at the Novotel Hotel on Friar Street – easily accessible by bus, or a short walk from Reading Station. For more details see the event page or the forum discussion post where you can also find information on assistance with getting to the venue.
News from Canute
Stephanie Sergeant has been demonstrating the Canute around the country including:
- at the Globe Shakespeare theatre in London where the Accessibility Manager asked for a demo of the Canute on their Sonnet day in September. Braille copies of the sonnets were scattered around the theatre, with many also displayed on the Canute. An Elizabethan printing press was on show. One visitor likened the Canute to having the same dramatic effect on the production of Braille as the printing press did for print copy 400 years ago.
- at the annual deaf-blind rally.
- at the Coventry Education Authority with the staff of the Sensory Impairment team, who asked lots of questions and discussed the potential for using it.
Also, as featured on the BBC and Sky news, Bristol Braille came third and won an inventors prize at the UK government’s NESTA awards ceremony. Bristol Braille will be using the award money to sponsor Canutes in schools.
Sight Village South East and Braille & Beer
On Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th November we joined Bristol Braille for the annual Sight Village South East show in South Kensington, London. As always we had a lot of interest in our activities and much fruitful discussion. The hand frames/slates we had on sale were particularly popular, selling out quickly - showing there's still plenty of call for more manual technologies. We've planning to order more for next time.
We also took the occasion to host our usual Braille & Beer event in a pub down the road after the show. It was a lovely opportunity to catch-up with like minded Braille enthusiasts and industry innovators, and an idea to hold a VI Musicians Showcase in 2019 was formed - we'll bring you more as the discussion grows.
The latest episode of the podcast on all things Braille spoke with Holly Scott-Gardner about studying Spanish, living abroad and the challenges of using tactile maps and diagrams. More BrailleCast episodes are planned before the end of the year. Search BrailleCast in your favourite podcast app or visit BrailleCast.com
Several Braillists members are collaborating on a project to create LibLouis tables for the indigenous South African languages. This will have various empowering use-cases, including:
- Making tables available for free or low cost translation software, to prepare materials in indigenous languages to be read on the new low cost Braille displays coming onto the market
- Having tables for indigenous languages included in NVDA, to facilitate Braille output of text in these languages, for which synthetic speech is not available in some cases
- Enabling grade II Braille input into NVDA in these languages
Laurent, who organises the London Braillists meetings, will be posting more on their endeavours on the forum as the project progresses – so sign up if you would like to have this news and other Braille discussion delivered straight to your inbox.
If you have any questions, comments or news of Braille projects that you are involved with do get in contact – either directly or by posting to our forum.