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Helping to Integrate the Visually Challenged into Mainstream Society through a Low-Cost Braille Device

Desirée Jordan, Adrian Als, Paul Walcott and Ramon Sargeant

ABSTRACT

The visually challenged are often alienated from mainstream society because of their disabilities. This problem is even more pronounced in developing countries which often do not have the resources necessary to integrate this people group into their communities or even help them to become independent. It should therefore be the aim of governments in developing countries to provide this vulnerable people group with access to assistive technologies at a low cost. This paper describes an ongoing project that aims to provide low-cost assistive technologies to the visually challenged in Barbados. As a part of this project a study was conducted on a sample of visually challenged members of the Barbados Association for the Blind and Deaf to determine their ICT skills, knowledge of Braille and their use of assistive technologies. An analysis of the results prompted the design and creation of a low-cost Braille device prototype. The cost of this prototype was about one-half that of a commercially available device and can be used without a screen reader. This device should help create equal opportunities to the visually challenged in Barbados and other developing countries. It should also allow the visually challenged to become more independent.

Full Paper in PDF Document

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