Electronic Braille Blocks: A Tangible Interface-based Application for Teaching Braille Letter Recognition to Very Young Blind Children

Rabia Jafri. Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2014), July 9-11, Paris, France, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), Volume 8548, pp. 551-558, 2014.

Abstract: A software solution for teaching Braille letter recognition to very young blind children is presented which allows them to interact with the computer by manipulating NFC-tag embedded blocks with Braille letters embossed on their sides. Braille letter recognition is taught and reinforced through various exercises and games and auditory feedback is provided via a speech interface. By embedding interactivity into physical blocks, our system provides the best of both worlds: the manipulation and exploration of physical objects in accordance with the sensory dependence and developmental needs of young children and the exploitation of the power of digital technology to extend and enhance the learning process taking place through traditional exploratory play. Furthermore, this is a cost-effective solution and does not require children to have previous experience with computers. This system can be easily adapted in the future to teach other concepts such as Braille numbers, shape or texture recognition.