The Insta-Braille™ was created by the team to help combat the Braille literacy crisis in America. According to the National Federation of the Blind, 90% of blind children in America today are not taught to read and write Braille. As a result, these children will grow up and 50% will not graduate high school while 70% will be unemployed. The team was shocked by these statistics and wanted to help blind children have a brighter future.
When designing the Insta-Braille™ 1.0, the inventors first took a children's sound book apart to see if the technology could be used to teach the Braille characters. The team learned that the recorded sound is stored in a microchip until a button is pushed. When a button is pushed, the sound is retrieved and played through a speaker. Using this knowledge, the inventors reverse engineered the sound book and came up with the concept of Insta-Braille™.
The Insta-Braille™ 1.0 sound module is programmed with a recording of each letter of the alphabet. A person who is visually impaired can feel the Braille character and then press the corresponding button to hear the name of the letter. Through repetition, the first 26 Braille characters can be easily memorized by both adults and children.
After meeting with members of the blind community, the inventors quickly learned that Insta-Braille™ 1.0 could be enhanced to meet the needs of a larger segment of the blind population. Insta-Braille™ 2.0 not only teaches the 26 Braille characters, it also teaches basic Braille contractions and numbers. The second generation product also contains a SD card slot so the sound can be recorded in various languages. A headphone jack allows the user to enjoy the Insta-Braille™ in a quiet learning environment. The inventors have a prototype of Insta-Braille™ 2.0 and are working with the University of North Georgia to create a working 3D printed prototype. The inventors have secured a provisional patent for the Insta-Braille™ 2.0 and plan to apply for a full utility patent this summer.
Thank you to all our partners, both business and personal, for helping us reach our first goal of $8,000! We met and exceeded that goal in just 7 days thanks to the generosity of family, friends, businesses and the community! This seed money will be used by the team to present the Insta-Braille™ to judges in St. Louis in April and Arkansas in May with the hope of winning the Global Innovation Award. You can view our first fundraising campaign at this link: https://www.youcaring.com/insta-braille.
The team is ready to move forward with Phase II of the Insta-Braille™ project. After working closely with the University of North Georgia, the team has been advised to purchase a 3D printer to create additional Insta-Braille™ devices for further testing. These devices will be distributed to teachers of the blind and visually impaired throughout the state of Georgia using a statewide vision Listserv group. These teachers will be offered an Insta-Braille™ which they will agree to use for beta testing in classrooms and schools for the blind. A national project manager for the American Foundation for the Blind has offered to help the team draft the materials necessary to promote the Insta-Braille™ to teachers statewide including the survey and feedback forms necessary to collect the testing data. The anticipated cost of Phase II prototype production, testing and distribution is approximately $50 per Insta-Braille™ plus the investment in a 3D printer. The team will need to raise an additional $20,000 to proceed with Phase II of the Insta-Braille™ Project.