Motivated by stories and ideas from blind people around the world, the LEGO Foundation, and LEGO Group will pilot a grassroots innovation that can help blind and visually impaired children learn through play using LEGO® bricks.
The LEGO Foundation and LEGO Group will announce their support of a pioneering project that will help blind and visually impaired children learn Braille in a playful and engaging way using Braille customized LEGO® bricks. The project, LEGO Braille Bricks, will be unveiled today at the Sustainable Brands Conference in Paris, France.
The concept behind LEGO Braille Bricks was first proposed to the LEGO Foundation in 2011 by the Danish Association of the Blind and again in 2017 by the Brazilian-based Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind. It has since been further shaped in close collaboration among blind associations from Denmark, Brazil, UK, and Norway and the first prototypes are now in those same countries for concept testing.
“With thousands of audiobooks and computer programs now available, fewer kids are learning to read Braille,” said Philippe Chazal, Treasurer of the European Blind Union. “This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities. We strongly believe LEGO Braille Bricks can help boost the level of interest in learning Braille, so we’re thrilled that the LEGO Foundation is making it possible to further this concept and bring it to children around the world.”
LEGO Braille Bricks will be molded with the same number of studs used for individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet while remaining fully compatible with the LEGO System in Play. To ensure the tool is inclusive allowing sighted teachers, students, and family members to interact on equal terms, each brick will also feature a printed letter or character. This ingenious combination brings a whole new and playful approach to get blind and visually impaired children interested in learning Braille, enabling them to develop a breadth of skills needed to thrive and succeed in a fast-paced world.
LEGO Group Senior Art Director, Morten Bonde, who suffers from a genetic eye disorder that is gradually turning him blind, worked as an internal consultant on the project. Morten currently has 4-degree sight left but is determined not to let his loss of sight limit him.
Images courtesy of lego.com