Lego takes major step forward with ‘Braille Bricks’

Lego is about to offer a product aimed to help visually impaired children.

The brick-builder company announced Wednesday it will launch Braille Bricks as a “fun and playful way to learn Braille.”

“Blind and visually impaired children have dreams and aspirations for their future just as sighted children,” LEGO Foundation CEO John Goodwin said in a statement. “They have the same desire and need to explore the world and socialize through play, but often face involuntary isolation as a consequence of exclusion from activities … I hope children, parents, caregivers, teachers, and practitioners worldwide will be as excited as we are, and we can’t wait to see the positive impact.”

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Lego said Braille Bricks will be constructed with the same number of studs used for letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet. The bricks will also be accessible to everyone with printed letters or characters on each brick.

The idea was first floated by the Danish Associated of the Blind in 2011. It was backed again by the Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind two years ago, where it was molded with blind associations from multiple countries.

They will be tested in Denmark, Brazil, UK, and Norway later this year, according to LEGO.

The final set , which is set to launch in 2020, will contain 250 bricks, covering the entire Braille alphabet, numbers and math symbols. The Lego Foundation said it plans to distribute the Braille Bricks free of charge to partnered schools all around the world.

“With thousands of audiobooks and computer programs now available, fewer kids are learning to read Braille,” said European Blind Union treasurer Philippe Chazal. “This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities,

“We strongly believe Lego Braille Bricks can help boost the level of interest in learning Braille, so we’re thrilled that the Lego Foundation is making it possible to further this concept and bring it to children around the world.”

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