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Soft Braille promises to bring images alive for blind and low vision people

July 8, 2019

A group of students and faculty members at a Bengaluru college have developed a software called Soft Braille to help visually impaired people get better access to images and maps in Braille.

Accessing images and maps is a major challenge for blind and low vision students, coming in the way of critical choices in academics. A new software aims to help them overcome those challenges.

Called Soft- Braille, it has been developed by a group of students from Bengaluru and claims to make the printing of images and maps on Braille stationery easier. A dot matrix printer will be used for this and it will be made available at cheap rates.

Created by students and faculty members of the MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT), this could make a significant impact for students, believes law student Maitreya Shah, who appreciates these efforts.

This is a great invention because there are many people who use Braille and tactile extensively. But the printing cost of Braille papers for images and texts is very high. This team has definitely tried to cover the disadvantages of Braille. I also strongly feel that it is high time we move towards technological solutions rather than going for conventional ways. Technology oriented solutions are the best.- Maitreya Shah, Law student

Currently, Braille textbooks have an appendix with images pertaining to the texts. Soft-Braille will change that. Images related to the chapter can be easily printed on the same page, making things easier for the user. The Mathru Educational Trust in Bengaluru is providing the software free of cost to all visually impaired students enrolled here and claims to be getting a good response.

Such access will open doors to more academic and career choices believes Simran Chawla. Simran, who is visually impaired, studied science in school, came up against many barriers. "Being a science student, I can understand the difficulties faced by a visually impaired person in knowing diagrams because we have to imagine it all. That is when such software will come to our rescue because we can become familiar with images, shapes and diagrams".

The team behind Soft Braille is now working on a vernacular version so more students can access it.

ALSO READ: 6 by 6 - BarrierBreak's amazing new app helps visually impaired people identify currency

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