Danish toy maker Lego has announced a scheme whereby visually impaired children will be able to learn braille by using customised Lego bricks.
The bricks will be moulded with the same number of studs used for individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet, and will also be compatible with regular Lego bricks.
Lego said the bricks would allow children to interact with "sighted teachers, students and family members".
Morten Bonde, Lego Group’s senior art director, who is currently suffering from a genetic eye disorder that is gradually turning him blind, worked as an internal consultant on the project.
He said: "Experiencing reactions from both students and teachers to Lego braille bricks has been hugely inspirational and reminded me that the only limitations I will meet in life are those I create in my mind.
"The children’s level of engagement and their interest in being independent and included on equal terms in society is so evident. I am moved to see the impact this product has on developing blind and visually impaired children’s academic confidence and curiosity already in their infant days."
The idea was first posited by the Danish Association of the Blind in 2011, and by Brazil’s Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind in 2017. Since then Lego has been working with blind associations in Denmark, Brazil, UK, and Norway to prototype the concept.
The product is currently being tested and is due to launch fully in 2020.
The kit will contain 250 braille bricks, covering the full alphabet, numbers 0-9, mathematical symbols and inspiration for teaching and interactive games. The kit will be shipped for free to selected institutions.
Image courtesy of Lego