Innovation That Matters

Tactile tiles

Braille literacy tool helps visually impaired learn independently

Fashion & Beauty

The Read Read uses tactile tiles that teach visually impaired users braille with audio pronunciation, enabling independent learning.

Many of the advances we’ve been covering are having a huge impact on the lives of those with physical impairments, whether that’s an app that makes movies more accessible for the visually and hearing impaired, or a tactile tablet that enables greater digital experiences. Now a team of researchers at Harvard have developed a tool to assist braille literacy learning.


The Read Read looks like a board game, with movable tiles that feature letters of the alphabet, plus some common phonetic prefixes and suffixes with the corresponding braille dots just beneath. When these tiles are placed along the bottom row of the board, the user can press down on them to have a voice read out the phonetic sound, with the sound continuing until the finger is removed. When the letters are lined up to spell a word, a continuous movement across the letters will cause each to be read sequentially, allowing the word to be sounded out as a teacher would for a pupil. The multi-sensory approach enables users to learn independently or practice in their spare time, which, the developers believe, will help overcome the issue of a deficit of braille-literate educators available to provide teaching, with the eventual aim of increasing literacy levels among the visually impaired. Having already been tested by hundreds of educators at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, the Read Read is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, with the aim of a widespread roll out into schools by late 2017.

How else can technology make the world more accessible to those with physical impairments?



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