Optical Braille Blocks for Visually Impaired Elementary Education
Learning through play has always proved its effectiveness in elementary education and has yielded prolific results. Although there are trained instructors, special schools, specific toys and facilities for Visually Impaired (VI), yet the communication between tutors and special children holds a significant gap. Also, tools in market are either too expensive or available in limited quantity in underdeveloped countries. This paper presents a cost effective solution for visually impaired children to play and learn via Braille blocks. These blocks are designed by embossed motives representing numbers, alphabets, shapes and mathematical operators with Infra-Red (IR) tags. The blocks transmit Infrared codes when come in contact with the system. The Braille Blocks System consists of a battery, optical detectors and controller which performs detection and processing of selected IR pattern. This system comprises of three different learning modules namely Words Game, Shapes Game and Math Game. These modules are further divided into several sub-game sections so that the children can learn and improve their communication and academic skills. The presence of audio feedback elevates a child’s capabilities to memorize and concentrate on self-learning and spatial coordination in a fascinating way. The designed system was tested on 20 blind children in “National Special Education Complex” Karachi, Pakistan and an assessment was conducted on basis of different types of errors encountered by children. The suitability of the system was also evaluated by taking feedback from blind students through a questionnaire, proving its effectiveness with 79% of blind children giving either good or very good feedback.