Bristol-based technology offers affordable access to Braille

Ed Rodgers, MD of Bristol Braille Technology (left), Karin Smyth MP, Paul Sullivan and his dog Elsie

Karin Smyth MP joined blind and partially-sighted people in Bedminster to see ground-breaking technology that promises access to Braille at a fraction of the cost of conventional means.

Bristol Braille Technology (BBT), a not-for-profit company based at Bristol Hackspace, Bedminster, has developed the world’s first multiline digital Braille eBook reader, Canute. Managing Director Ed Rodgers joined the Bristol South MP and a group of local blind and partially sighted people who demonstrated the new technology.

Ed Rodgers said: “Canute offers potential Braille users a better chance of education and employment in their life by learning and using Braille in a radically affordable way. We have been working with a community of Braille users who have been instrumental in the design process.

“We are starting a quiet evolution in Braille literacy here in Bristol and we look forward to working with our MP Karin Smyth and others, to make sure its spreads around the country and abroad.”

Karin Smyth MP said: “I was delighted to see this exciting innovation being developed and used in my constituency, and to hear from local people how much they value Canute’s potential. It promises to make Braille more accessible to people who can’t currently afford access, and I look forward to following its progress in the months ahead.”

Canute has been co-developed for five years by BBT and a group of Braille enthusiasts called the Braillists, which has a national membership of over 250 Braille readers. With this positive and useful feedback from the Braille community, Canute is expected to be in the market in late 2017/ early 2018. This link shows the current process reported by different media.