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International Council on English Braille (ICEB)
Braille in the news


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Quick links on this page: Upcoming events, On the value of braille, Braille technology, Braille success stories, Braille initiatives and legislation, Braille usages, Braille music, Braille leaders, Braille activities, competitions and events, Braille products, Campaigns for access to braille, Learning braille, Transition to UEB

Upcoming events

The Australian Braille Authority Annual Meeting will be held at Braille House on Saturday 4 May 2019. It will be followed by the associated Conference of the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities Inc. from 5-7 May 2019 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

On the value of braille

The World of Words is a podcast exploring languages. This month, they look at the history of braille and the reasons behind its lasting usage. [August 2018]

Research shows that braille literacy is key to life satisfaction and self-esteem in addition to academic and job success. [June 2018]

"Is listening to audiobooks really listening?" While listening to audio gives access to the content, it does not give access to the written word, spelling, punctuation or any of the other elements that are required for true literacy. [April 2018]

Tech helps Northern California's Vision Impaired gain Independence. But "tech should not be a substitute for literacy". [February 2018]

Research paper "The influence of braille literacy programme length on frequency of braille usage" provides new evidence from Croatia that students who receive longer braille literacy programmes go on to make more use of braille.

Laura Hughes, founder of Moorvision, talks about why (and how) parents of vision impaired children should learn braille. [September 2017]

Batten report on educational interventions suggests that "Learning braille at an early age — before children lose the ability to read and write using their eyesight — may be key to maintaining children’s ability to read and write as they grow older." [November 2017]

Is braille on life support? NO. Because braille = literacy, access to STEM and skills for the workplace. And because refreshable braille gives quicker and easier access to braille than ever before. [July 2017]

Braille as the ticket to freedom and independence: An article by the National Braille Press on Independence Day. [June 2017]

Braille technology

The Blitab, a refreshable braille tablet, is scheduled for shipping by the end of the year. The top half of the tablet, which will retail for around $500, has holes where the liquid based technology can raise to form braille dots. [September 2018]

Windows 10 is promising improved usage of braille commanding when using the Narrator key from the braille display. [August 2010]

TV captions as refreshable braille for people who are deaf-blind, coming soon to the USA. [August 2018]

To join a new discussion list about the BrailleMe (low-cost refreshable braille display), send a blank e-mail to: brailleme+subscribe@groups.io. [August 2018]

3D printed braille? A new study finds that it is more versatile but not as smooth as traditional embossed braille. [July 2010]

More support for UEB math now available with the Duxbury Braille Translator version 12.3. [July 2018]

Plug and play braille devices? Yes please! A new universal standard for braille displays promises to do away with the need for specialised drivers for refreshable braille displays. [June 2018]

New braille inventions are popping up all over the world. From Azerbaijan comes Braille Teach, an enlarged braille cell to serve as an interactive braille alphabet teaching device. [May 2018]

Bringing braille back from the brink: Can new braille technology boost literacy levels for the blind? Yes, we believe it can. Braille is essential for literacy, and new technologies make braille available more quickly and affordably than ever before. [May 2018]

The makers of DotWatch are now working on Dot Pad, a full page refreshable braille display. [April 2018]

Thinkerbell Labs have been named finalists in the global 2018 ASME Innovation Showcase for "Annie", an affordable audio-tactile device for self-learning and classroom teaching of braille. [April 2018]

Illuminating science for blind students, with help from the latest tech devices: New technologies enable increased use of braille and give access to STEM fields. [April 2018]

New character recognition and braille translation software for Sinhala developed in Sri Lanka. [March 2018]

BrailleMe, a low-cost refreshable braille display, was this year's winner of the National Braille Press's Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation in braille. [February 2018]

Taptilo are offering free trials of their innovative braille learning tools. If outside the USA, please contact them directly to register. [January 2018]

World Blind Union statement for World Braille Day on the importance of technology to support braille literacy. [January 2018]

Iranian researcher develops phone for visually impaired: A prototype system featuring a braille keyboard on a bracelet paired with a mobile phone. [December 2017]

Perkins SMART Braillers now offer Unified English Braille. The UEB software update is available for free download. [October 2017]

"I can’t tell you how excited I am. Digital braille means I can ... slip every book in the world into my purse and take it with me." - Comments from a NLS patron using an Orbit Braille Reader as part of a one year trial to determine how the device can be used as part of their library service.[August 2017]

Microsoft Windows Accessibility: It is great to see improved support for braille displays in Microsoft's new preview build. [June 2017]

Team Tactile hopes to create an inexpensive and portable device that can translate text to braille in real time. [May 2017]

Exciting possibilities: The b.my.jet printer promises affordable digital additive printing for braille and tactile graphics, with a prototype due by the end of 2017. [April 2017]

Canute is an affordable 9-line refreshable braille display with the goal "to help reverse the decline in Braille literacy". [April 2017]

The Unubhav, a prototype low-cost device from India, is a braille slate and stylus with a difference - it lets you read and write simultaneously with raised dots. [March 2017]

Braille success stories

Blind students from the Pune Blind School pass their examinations with first class. Deodan Gaikwad credits his success to the simplicity of braille. [June 218]

There is no stopping Samantha Lynn Williams. Learning braille as an adult as a stepping stone to education and a new career. [May 2018]

Warrensburg-Latham second-grader aces Braille Challenge: A success story of learning braille for long-term literacy. [February 2018]

"Against all odds": A success story from Nepal on the importance of braille for equality and how one individual can make a difference. [December 2017]

The sweetest Christmas music you'll ever hear: A Christmas tale of the importance of braille for access and inclusion (with some help from skilled transcription from behind Idaho prison bars). [December 2017]

"Reading is food for the mind and the soul" says 11-year old Abdullah Ammar, who is the only braille reader among sixteen finalists in the international Arab Reading Challenge. [October 2017]

Giang the adventurer: Grab's first blind coder makes the world see past limitations. Adaptations can be as simple as braille stickers for an accessible workplace and career success. [October 2017]

Eleven year old boy shatters school record by reading for over 250 hours. And he just happens to be using braille. [April 2017]

Seventh-grader L.T. Spears read 4,015 pages of braille in seven weeks to win the Great Lakes Braille Readers Are Leaders contest. [March 2017]

Grammy award winner Jose Feliciano: "Braille is an important language for the blind that cannot be replaced". [February 2017]

Braille initiatives and legislation

Positive moves in Kenya with the release of braille documents to enhance participation of visually impaired people in governance. [November 2018]

Great news for Nigeria, with the establishment of 6 new braille centres. [October 2018]

New Braille Press opening: "Braille in Scotland not only has a proud history but an important role in our future too." [June 2018]

New Zealand moves closer to ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty for international sharing of braille and other accessible materials. [June 2018]

A new Social Security system in Scotland is believed to be the first in the UK to ensure that all of its information is fully accessible to people with disabilities. Formats that information must be available in include audio, Braille and large-print. [May 2018]

Federation of blind hosts convention in Twin Falls: "It's the lack of education. It's the misunderstandings of others that define, not blindness". Which is why the National Federation of the Blind of Idaho want to strengthen the braille bill in next year's legislative session. [April 2018]

Blind users celebrate as the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Bill is introduced to US Congress. When passed, it will enable easier sharing of braille internationally. [March 2018]

In conjunction with International Women's Day 2018, around 2,500 braille books explaining menstruation are being distributed to vision impaired girls throughout India. [March 2018]

Braille publishing house at book fair to provide access, raise awareness and encourage publishers to make their books accessible. [February 2018]

"You feel it on your fingers and it's very very very very dotty". The immeasurable value of braille for literacy, as supported by APH's Braille Tales program. [January 2018]

Japan to donate braille printers and equipment to the Nepal Association for the Welfare of the Blind. A nice example of braille across borders. [December 2017]

Half a million braille books for children! Congratulations to Seedlings on their milestone in bringing literacy and joy to children worldwide. [August 2017]

Good news from Turkey, where braille labelling of medication is now mandatory. [April 2017]

The first tactile atlas of India demonstrates the power of braille and tactile graphics: "There is a lot of excitement ... to see the expression of students as they lay their hands on the atlas and sense our country in its physical form". [March 2017]

Braille usages

Braille trails

Braille trails are designed to make outdoor areas easy for vision impaired people to navigate and enjoy. They may include braille signage, roped pathways, tactile ground surface indicators and sensory gardens.

Introducing the Braille Tree System - braille signage for trees in a park in Malaysia. [November 2018]

Re-opening of a Three Senses Trail at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. It features a tactile map, braille signage, a level walking surface and raised edges. [October 2018]

A braille treasure hunt has been established in Greater Manchester. It covers a circular route of around 2 miles and takes around 2 hours to complete. [May 2018]

Braille Trail with sensory garden opens at Fowler Park in Forsyth County, Georgia USA.[May 2018]

Braille menus

Local braille activism: Teenager Mason Fessenden is taking matters into his own hands and producing braille menus for local restaurants in Monrovia. [August 2018]

Flagler student project helps blind diners in St Augustine USA. Braille menus (and wait staff training) allow independence and dignity. [May 2018]

Viral photograph of an 18-year old girl offered a (braille) menu for the first time in her life. A simple example of how braille gives equitable access to information. [March 2017]

Signage

Braille in zoos: Braille information boards at Lucknow zoo, India. [October 2018]

Two girl scouts make a difference by brailling information for museum exhibits at East Bay Museum. [October 2018]

Braille for access on public transport in India: Braille Platform indicators at Borivali station in Mumbai. [October 2018]

SoCalGas provide braille oven knobs and braille bills. Fantastically simple adaptions enabling independence. [August 2018]

How do blind people find braille signs?: On the importance of braille signs for independent navigation, and consideration for their careful placement. [August 2018]

Braille and tactile road maps at street crossing signals by Touch Graphics. Love it. [July 2018]

The Blind Faith Upgrade is a kit that can help hotels transform any room into a blind-friendly room, with braille labels, reusable tactile paving tiles and audio assist. [April 2018]

Creating the 'jewelry' of the elevator industry: This article describes braille and tactile labels as the overlooked "jewelry of the elevator industry". But for people who read by touch, they are an essential tool for independence. [April 2018]

Braille Neue is an experimental braille/print font, possibly to be used for dual format signage at the Tokyo Olympics. [April 2018]

Initiative to put braille signs on UNF buildings. Previously, vision impaired students had to guess or memorize which building they were in. [May 2017]

Braille maps and more than 600 braille labels on railings for platforms and footbridges at KSR_city railway station in India. [March 2017]

Braille in art

A braille mural as a talking point to bridge the sighted and vision impaired communities. [June 2018]

RSBC announces the unveiling of a sculptural commission by Robert Montgomery. The inclusion of braille statements means that the sculptures are only fully accessible to blind people. [January 2018]

Omani designer creates a dress for the blind with the national anthem of Oman featured in braille on a dress sleeves. [December 2017]

Tactile banknotes

The Solomon Islands are celebrating 40 years of independence with the release of a limited edition $40 note with braille markings. [July 2018]

Tactile features on bank notes now in the UK, with the introduction of the new 10 pound note. [July 2017]

A tweet about braille codes in the design of tactile Malaysian Banknotes goes viral. [May 2017]

New bankknotes in Australia have tactile markings,thanks to lobbying by a blind student. [September 2016]

Further uses

Braille on Mars! NASA's Insight lands on Mars with a braille "Easter egg". [December 2018]

Medals with braille, embossed logo and a rattling sound. A great initiative for the 2018 Asian Para Games. [October 2018]

Braille ale! [September 2018]

Love letters in braille on your Rice Krispies treats! [August 2018]

For the first time, Braille voting cards were prepared and issued to visually impaired voters in Karnataka in an attempt to make elections more inclusive. [July 2018]

Braille must be included on all Paralympic medals, as per the Paralympic regulations. The PyeongChang Winter Olympic medals are no exception. [March 2018]

Odisha releases braille calendar and almanac to all blind schools in Berhampur (India), to educated vision impaired persons and to social organisations working for the visually challenged. Any visually impaired person can register his or her address to get this calendar free every year. [January 2018]

Braille letters to (and from) Santa are available in the USA, UK, New Zealand and Australia. [November 2017]

Braille boarding passes: A simple but meaningful service now available from Turkish Airlines. [November 2017]

Blind voters in Rwanda are pleased to use braille to cast a vote an independent vote. [August 2017]

Great initiative in South Korea, issuing the world's first braille passports. [April 2017]

Braille Music

What is braille music and its benefits? UKAAF's podcasts explain.[August 2018]

Free braille and audio guitar lessons available from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Great article about the project also available here. [July 2018]

The American Printing House for the Blind has created a Spotify playlist representing the APH Migel Library’s Blind Musicians Collection. It encompasses works by and about more than 100 musicians who are visually impaired. [May 2018]

On the importance of braille music for literacy, learning and fun at the Academy of Music for the Blind. [March 2018]

Braille Music (2017) is a UK documentary highlighting Louis Braille's gift to blind musicians. It is available through Amazon Prime. [November 2017]

The Braille Music Notator is a free, online and accessible way of writing braille music. [March 2017]

The importance of braille music, as told by participants at Australia's National Braille Music Camp. [February 2017]

Braille leaders

Congratulations to Christine Simpson, editor of ICEB's Rules of Unified English Braille, on being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Round Table on Information Access for People with a Print Disability. [May 2018]

Remembering June Wenberg, a blind leader who founded Sight Loss Services to support braille tuition and other skills acquisition for people with degenerative vision loss. [April 2018]

Our heartfelt congratulations to Darleen Bogart, named as an Officer in the Order of Canada. Darleen is a past President of ICEB and was a strong force behind the creation of Unified English Braille. [July 2017]

Remembering Stanford engineering professor John G. Linvill, inventor of the Optacon reading device. [March 2011]

Congratulations to Jean Obi, recipient of the Arise Ambassador's Award for her work in establishing braille education in Nigeria. Jean is Nigeria's representative to the ICEB Executive Committee. [November 2017]

Braille activities, competitions and events

The Cleveland Museum of Arts hosted a Tactile Carnival, featuring games such as blindfolded harvest toss, Touch Tetris and the braille name game. Sounds like fun! [November 2018]

Read Aloud program in West Virginia: The simple story of one teacher making a difference with braille lessons for sighted kids. Love their plans to use braille to send secret notes in class! [November 2018]

Some fun ideas for braille-related activities ahead of World Literacy Day on September 8. Great work by the Braille Authority of New Zealand Aotearoa Trust (BANZAT). [August 2018]

The Braille Challenge promotes braille literacy and builds confidence and networks for success. [July 2018]

“Braille is knowledge and knowledge is power. The power of the Braille Challenge is amazing." Observations from an observer at the 2018 Braille Challenge. [July 2018]

"Braille is powerful." Tales from the USA's National Braille Challenge. [July 2018]

The Braille Challenge 2018 is now on, with 10 competitors for each age group selected through regional competitions throughout North America. [July 2018]

The NYS School for the Blind is celebrating its 150th anniversary. While many things have changed, the need for braille has not. "Braille is their literacy, and to not teach it would be like teaching them not to be literate." [May 2018]

Highlights from the ICEB mid-term executive meeting in Dublin. [May 2018]

Braille Games 2018: The Milwaukee Public Museum teamed up with ABLE, VisionForward and the Talking and Braille Library to host the 2018 Braille Games. Visually impaired children engaged in museum education programs, then challenged each other in competitive braille games led by blind adult mentors. [April 2018]

Braille workshops at FILBo: As part of the ‘More ways to read’ section of FILBo, multiple workshops on reading and writing braille have been organised. "If you can write in braille, you can include the visually impaired in memos at work, or serve as a translator yourself – a fantastic thing to have on your CV. You can also translate any information for clubs or societies you are part of. Plus, it’s fun! " [April 2018]

CNIB's 100th anniversary: Congratulations to CNIB on 100 years of support for people who are blind or vision impaired in Canada. [March 2018]

Holman Prize semi-finalist Carol Bejay Green wants to implement a summer program teaching the Navajo Braille Code to blind students and adults. [March 2018]

Great interview with Robert Englebretson and Simon Fischer-Baum on the upcoming Symposium on Braille Reading and Writing. The interview starts at 10:50. [May 2018]

Wonderful celebrations for World Read Aloud Day in South Africa, where braille learners participated in a range of activities, including a braille treasure hunt. According to news reports, almost 850 blind and partially sighted learners from 11 schools for the blind participated. [February 2018]

Rounding up Braille Awareness Month, the Bureau of Internet Accessibility is raising awareness about how web accessibility can help develop braille literacy throughout all aspects of a student's life. [January 2018]

"Reading in the Dark" event for National Braille Literacy Awareness month. [January 2018]

Braille Week celebrations in Nigeria concluded with a parliamentary unveiling of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in braille. [January 2018]

Arushi organises car rally for the blind: Just one of the many things you can achieve with braille. [January 2018]

The third Braille Chess Olympiad was held in Weymouth UK in 1968. Do you have information or pictures of the event? [December 2017]

Picture books for the blind: The South African Library for the Blind has launched new tactile picture books and a braille manual in honour of Disability Rights Awareness Month. [November 2017]

How braille, screen readers and other technology changed the world for blind readers: 150 years of evolution in technology for bline readers in CNIB exhibition. [October 2017]

In South Africa: The SA Braille Cup Competition encourages braille literacy and is raising awareness of its importance. [September 2017]

Fun for braille in Ireland. The NCBI National Table Quiz is putting the spotlight on braille and literacy. [September 2017]

Videos are now available for all sessions at this year's Tactile Reading Conference on braille and graphics for children and youth. [May 2017]

Results of the 2017 Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for innovation. Congratulations to the makers of BELLA (Braille Early Learning and Literacy Arcade) and Reach and Match Learning Kit. [April 2017]

Braille products

Braille Buzz is a new braille learning tool for 2-5 year olds, now available from APH. [November 2018]

For evaluation: Brick-a-braille system for using lego to teach braille. [November 2018]

Laptime and Lullabies: A handbook with suggestions on how to introduce literacy and (UEB) braille to your infant or toddler. [August 2018]

An Aasaan phone with braille keys is now available in India. [August 2018]

Seedlings Braille Books for Children has added eight more titles to its collection of books in Unified English Braille. [July 2018]

Very Bumpy Stories in UEB are available for purchase or loan from Volunteer Braille Services in the USA. [July 2018]

inklude is an initiative from India using Poly-Braille printing technology to integrate print and braille products for inclusive learning in mainstream schools. [May 2018]

Seedlings Braille Books for Children now offers 100 titles in contracted UEB for older kids. [April 2018]

From the Royal Canadian Mint: Beautiful braille on CNIB's coin and medallion commemorating their 100th anniversary. [March 2018]

AnimalWatch VI suite is a free accessible app to support children learn maths. Accompanying braille and tactile graphic files are available in UEB. [October 2017]

Less than a month until Christmas! Luckily, Paths to Literacy have some great gift ideas for young braille readers. [November 2017]

Snizzly Snouts is a book of poems designed to be read by blind and sighted children together, with the braille providing added information. Available in uncontracted english braille from NCBI. [August 2017]

Beautiful tactile UEB edition of the classic Bear Hunt now available through APH. [August 2017]

Six little dots is a charming new children's book in UEB to teach the basics of the braille cell.

Campaigns for access to braille

On a braille crisis in India, leaving many vision impaired students effectively illiterate. [May 2018]

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has petitioned the High Court seeking accessible (braille) ballot papers so that vision impaired voters can exercise their right to vote by secret ballot in the forthcoming 2018 General Election in Zimbabwe. [May 2018]

Calls for all lead-based Taylor slates in India to be replaced with safe materials by September. [May 2018]

Visually impaired candidate rejected: For the past five days, disability rights activists in Chennai have been protesting after a visually impaired binder's application was rejected on the basis that he cannot read and write. But he has studied up to class 12 and can read and write in braille. [April 2018]

Braille study materials in Nigeria: With braille as the stepping stone to literacy and future success, vision impaired students in Nigeria call for better access to braille paper, machines, and slates. [March 2018]

In Jamaica: A call for braille packaging as an important step towards empowerment. [December 2017]

CNIB is calling for support to create more books in braille. "We're not getting the same availability of information as our peers are, our sighted peers, and so it's very difficult to compete in education, and to compete in employment with such a low number of books available to us." [June 2018]

Learning Braille

Great tip from Paths to Literacy: Use a dry eraser to highlight braille dots for better visibility in an interpoint book. [December 2018]

Want to learn UEB for math or check your skills? APH has developed a fantastic UEB Math Tutorial that’s online, accessible, and free. [December 2018]

Advice on teaching braille to students with decreased tactile sensitivity, from the excellent Paths To Literacy website. [October 2018]

New in the app store: Reading Adventure Time is a literacy and assessment tool designed for teachers and students to support braille reading skills. And it is free! [September 2018]

The Whittle Pocket Reference Book of UEB Common Symbols is a handy tool for those who are learning or revising the code. [August 2018]

Great article on UEB maths, citing research on its use and a recommended resource for learning. [July 2017]

"Get excited about braille. It is fun to be literate." And more practical tips on how to increase braille reading speed. [July 2017]

Hands On UEB is a first stage braille reading scheme for young children, complete with tactile pictures. Available for purchase from RNIB. [May 2018]

Learning braille is fun! The Braille Bee spelling app offers games for learning to spell in contracted and uncontracted braille. [April 2017]

Transition to Unified English Braille (UEB)

Past ICEB treasurer Bill Jolley spoke about UEB adoption around the world at a braille reading competition in Bangkok. [April 2017]

The World Blind Union Asia Pacific has a brand new website. ICEB supports their recent recommendation that WBU-AP countries: (a) adopt Unified English Braille as their national standard for English-language braille: and (b) consider using the Unified English Braille symbols for mathematics and science notation when undertaking major revisions to their indigenous braille codes. [March 2017]

New braille code takes hold: A UEB transition success story from Florida, USA. [February 2017]


ICEB contact information
Page content last updated: December 15, 2018.