WHEN YOU THINK of think of things that fifth-year students might be up to, aiming to revolutionise learning technology for people with disabilities probably isn’t on the list.
Jemin Joseph and Joel Anthony’s braille pad aims to make learning the touch language a possibility for blind children around the world, regardless of their financial position.
The device works through solenoids – a type of electromagnet – that power the device to create braille patterns that correspond with the different letters of the alphabet.
Irish-Indian 16-year-old Jemin moved here when he was two, and developed the idea for the project on a trip back to India:
Similar products exist in the market, but come with pretty hefty price tags. Joseph sees the braille pad as having potential to change that.
“Irish families can spend as much as €7,000 a year to teach their child braille,” he explains. “And there is no need for that.
“With this parents can sit down with their children and help them work through it. It is psychologically better for the student and it is more of a joy teaching your own child the braille language.”
In total the parts for the machine were pulled together for around €40, and Joseph hopes that if it comes to retail, it will sell for around €50.
Not a big mark-up – but as he explains:
I don’t want to make a profit. I want to make a difference in life.
The system does currently have some restrictions. It is not able to replicate the number or size of braille shapes that a learner might need to develop to a high level.
Joseph hopes to change that though, and will be developing his prototype further for exhibitions going forward.