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Dear Braillist,

With the end of 2015 in sight we'd like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who has connected and been part of the Braillists this year. We've had a great year hosting meetings in Bristol, Reading, and Dublin; meeting yet more of you at Sight Village Exhibitions in Birmingham, Manchester and London; and working closely with Braille innovators to produce new affordable Braille technology that is collaboratively designed with the users.

At Braillists meetings in 2015 we've enjoyed lively debate around Unified English Braille, learned more about the world of Braille transcription and met the ClearVision library amongst many other fascinating topics and conversations. If there is a Braille topic we are not covering, then please join the Braillists forum and kick off a discussion.

We are impassioned to promote the value of Braille much further and aim to expand on our endeavours in 2016. We've had so much interest that we are keen to start more groups around the country and further afield - bringing face-to-face Braille discussion to everyone. If you would like to be involved in setting up a local Braillists group, or you would like Braillists to be represented at an event near you, join the discussion on our forum and let's resolve to make that happen in 2016.

In the summer a number of you participated in our home testing programme, spending time with the prototype of Canute - the world's first multiline Braille eBook reader being developed by Bristol Braille Technology. The feedback was encouraging and has lead to great steps in development. STEM subjects and Braille music were popular suggested uses for multiline digital Braille and the Canute's "hard Braille" was seen as a particular asset for new learners and those with finger sensitivity issues. You told BBT how you'd like to navigate and use the Canute, and you liked how it remembered your place even after a reboot. Work on Canute Mark 7 continues and we look forward to hearing more and working with the team in the coming year.

We continue to monitor other new Braille technologies and encourage your feedback on our forum. The Dot watch, Blitab tablet, Braigo embosser and Transforming Braille display are all promising products for 2016 and we'll bring you news as we get it. We are extending invitations to the developers to work with us to produce technologies that really make a difference. As soon as we can get our hands on any of these devices, we will bring them to you through our group meetings to hear your views and desires.

Over Christmas and New Years we will be concentrating on our organisational activities - extending our website with news and articles; arranging future meetings and events; researching new topics and developments; making our content more accessible. Steph will be overseas so Dave and Beatrice will be fielding any direct enquiries. If you have general enquiries or views including starting new local Braillists groups, suggestions for topics of future meetings or would like to recommend events we should attend please let us know through our forum.

As we curl up with some good Braille books over the winter, we'd like to wish you and your families the very best seasons greetings and hope you enjoy a happy and fulfilling new year. We very much look forward to your company in 2016.

Dave, Beatrice, Steph and Jen
Your Dotty Braillists Team

Don't forget you can find us through the website at Braillists.org and on Twitter @Braillists


 
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