Kindle For Blind – Now Made A Reality By Technology:
Braille has traditionally always been an effective way for the blind to read books. The dotted scripts across the paper make it easier to read lengthy scripts. With multiple publishers now offering services to convert print books into braille versions, the availability is never an issue. Thus, you can easy get any book you want in Braille version. Having said that, you can also use online options to convert. Most of the sites take up these projects on a vanity basis for social responsibility. However, a few of these companies like to charge a small amount to convert it from physical print.
The most widely popular web portals to bring these versions are, BrailleTranslator and RoboBraille. These two sites can convert direct text inputs or document upload. Amongst the two portals, RoboBraille, brings multiple options to file conversions. You can bring documents directly, link URL loading and the best part is that you can input any file format. The supported file formats are ePub, Mobi, PDF, BMP, JPG, DJV and many others. Once you have uploaded the said file, you have the option to download the files in multiple formats, of which Braille is one.
All said so; we are making a simple point here, it’s not that hard to get eBooks in Braille format. And the fair thing is that they don’t cost you too much as well, with the recent technologies in place. The real issue comes to the fore when you have to read them. Till now, there hasn’t been a general feature loaded eBook reader which supports Braille. But today, in the latest development by Bristol Braille Tech, you can read Braille on your device.
Boston Braille Tech – Invention Of A Different Kindle:
To revive the fading culture of Braille, a technology solutions company based out of Boston brought a solution for ages. It took the world’s most popular reading device and made to useful for the blind and visually impaired. The Kindle for the Blind, termed as The Canute, converts eBooks and print books from Memory Stick, into this version. The research and development team behind the invention are, confident that the device will be able to convert the eBooks simultaneously. The devices at present will be available worldwide in the later end of this year, 600 to 700 Euros. The Braille version of the devices comes with an exclusive format support. Of course, in future, the devices will come out with multiple support.
The Canute device is configured with 1,000 cogs, pinions, and mechanical connectors which work in tandem to convert the inputs. In this capacity, users have to transfer their eBooks, text materials to a memory stick which comes with the device. The Canute Brailler device can go on from there to read nine lines of Braille with 40 characters on each line. Of course, that is still marginally lower than the speeds capable by the Kindle devices. But the quality is assured by this device with a more tighter time speed. It has been developed by Bristol Braille Technology whose Managing Director Ed Rogers says it will work in much the same way as a regular e-reader.
“We’re keeping it simple – you read a page, press a button at the bottom to go forward a page, back a page or return to the library menu,” Managing Director Ed Rogers says explaining the product. Readers will be able to access books on the Canute through readily available Braille library services such as RNIB Library, which provide books in a digital format, or by using online braille conversion programs, he continues.
Ideologies Of Braille Technology – The Need-Based Requirement:
The major idea behind this development, as stated by the publishers is the time gap between publishing. To explain further on it, we take the scenario where the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays has not made it to the Braille version till very recently. Our point being, there a huge time gap between the print forms and Braille versions. Usually, this results in a lack of interest on the publication house. If for example, we take the case of Bloomsbury, which brought out the Harry Potter series way back in 2003, couldn’t provide the same in Braille by 2015 at the latest. Of course, it is a lengthy process to convert from physical; to this version, but that’s not half the reason. When we take the conversion process, perhaps the conversion takes an amount of time equal to that of eBooks. But then, why is they not coming out more frequently.
The reason for not making immediate books for visually impaired is a lack of audience. Lack of readership is a major issue when it comes to bulk ordering. Any reputed Publishing House would look at the lack of reader base as the major factor. However, presently the scenario is changing with more visually challenged readers looking at eBooks for reading. Of course, this made the publishers seriously consider the base to infuse technology to bring novel solutions for the blind. One of the major players in doing so is the previously mentioned company Bristol Braille Technology. It’s eBook reader which is an all in one solution for converting, reading, and sharing books in this format.
Ed Rogers in this context addresses the issue in the following manner ““There’s often a long delay between print publication and the transcribed braille release, and certainly not all volumes will be available from Braille library services. “However, if you have an e-book file you can automatically convert it to braille format yourself, using online programs such as robobraille.org, and download it to your Canute.” He described the internal mechanism, which relies on motors and gears to refresh the page, as “almost like a very intricate clock, and very Heath Robinson.”
Features And Technology Involved In Braille E-Readers
All said and done, the major issue that people may face when you start using this eReader is books. Where do you find them? What if the books you bring into the device, and it fails to support it? To overcome this problem with online Braille providing libraries. That’s the thing. Libraries like NLS Braille, NLS Home, Perkins and Lara Online book portals provide solutions to the demand. You can register for free at these sites, even from within the Canute, and start downloading these books as and when you like. With mechanical infusions within the device, the motor and needles in the device bring the format of Braille to ease of reading.
Within the list of devices which have taken as a task to bring such readers online, most of them have failed to succeed because of the high cost. Expenses went sky high for mechanisms involved. This was a major thing that came to offer with the Canute. Ed and his engineers have been working on the Canute since 2012, and have collaborated closely with community group Braille’s to test several prototypes.
Explaining the process in making up the device, the mind behind Canute speaks up. “No-one has ever successfully done something like this before – and we’re looking to sell it for about £600-£700, which is somewhere in the region of 20 times cheaper per character than any existing digital braille. “I think only one other person once attempted the multi-line braille technology we’re working on, but it was going to end up costing about $50,000, We develop the technology and iron out the errors, but it’s the people at Braillists who have made all the user suggestions, such as where and how big the buttons should be,” he said.
Now on its 11th prototype, the Canute’s final size is 14×14 inches and approximately two and a half inches thick – the ideal size to fit in a rucksack or laptop bag to take on the move. The type it uses is very solid, like Braille that would be found on signs as opposed to conventional softer paper Braille.
Here’s hoping that the Canute will only be a start to more technological advancements, which serve different reading needs of society. We are curious as to what you think of this possibility? Is it perhaps possible to do more regarding needs and requirements? Let us right away.