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Meet the visually impaired kid in rural Ireland using futuristic technology to go on the internet

Sixth class student Daniel Daly can write and email his schoolwork to teachers with ease thanks to new technology.

Image: YouTube/NCBIfootage

WHEN HE HAS an assignment due, 12-year-old Daniel Daly can easily input his work into a BrailleNote keyboard and email it directly to his teacher at Cloghan National School in Offaly.

Before, when he relied on a braille typewriter, he would have had to manually rub out mistakes. Now, he says, “I can just click the delete button on a word and it’s gone.”

Daniel, who is visually impaired, uses BrailleNote to send and read emails, and type documents.

What’s the best thing about it? ”I can carry it pretty much anywhere and I can do pretty much anything on it.”

The wireless device, which can connect to the internet, is one of several assistive  technologies that are now widely used by blind students in the Irish education system.

Source: NCBIfootage/YouTube

Stuart Lawler, rehabilitation centre manager with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI), says digital braille has made the experience of education much easier for visually impaired students.

Students can now download and send files to teachers. They can connect their devices to iPads so that they can read what’s on a tablet. There’s no need for them to carry around a large number of braille books anymore.

Devices like the BrailleNote, which have only been widely available in Ireland in the last six or so years, are now being used by students as young as five and six, Lawler told TheJournal.ie.

The advent of new digital technology is important for the future of braille, he says in this NCBI video.

 There has been lot of talk about braille being replaced by technology. And to a degree, yes it has been, but I think braille can complement technology and here’s an example [in Daniel] of digital braille being used very successfully.

Daniel, for his part, isn’t too worried about the future either. “I’m going to Banagher Secondary School,” he says. “I think [the BrailleNote] goes with me, because there’s a boy by the name of Jordan Mahony and I think he’s bringing his to St. Joseph’s when he goes next year.”

Read: Incredible exhibition helps blind people ‘see’ artistic masterpieces with their fingers >

Read: This device reads out printed text to the blind in real-time >

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Catherine Healy

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