It IS exciting to see kids interested in engineering, and I know selkiechick
posted with the best intention.
However, that announcement pushed a whole row of my Assistive Technology Geek buttons, and I gotta rant. I'll can use the "BRAIGO" to illustrate why I get so hot under the collar. (My cred: I've hung out with people who use assistive technology since 1982; I designed and sold braille translation software and embossers in the late eighties; and I've personally depended on assistive technology since 1991.) Based on thirty year's close attention to the development/PR/funding/purchasing/abando
nment cycle for assistive technology, here's my take on the BRAIGO announcement.( DESIGNERS GET COOKIES FOR PROTOTYPES, NOT AFFORDABLE PRODUCTS )( DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT EXPERT ENDUSERS IS POINTLESS
That's why the BRAIGO can't create useful braille.( PR BECOMES DISINFORMATION ) A $350 embosser would be an amazing thing. Hundreds of well-intentioned editors and readers are willing to take the inventor's word for it. But this device is not a embosser.( EXPERTS ARE AVAILABLE on REQUEST! )
We live in a press release culture: what the company wants to say is what we hear. Or in this case, what a 12 year old (who mentions absolutely no contact with braille users) says gets broadcast.( FAST FACTS RE EMBOSSERS & BRAILLE )
Start from the first dot at the RNIB's Learning Braille
site or pick an excellent start for adults at the Achayra firm in India
. Teach more at the National Federation of the Blind's Braille is Beautiful
resource for kids.tl;dr Just because assistive technologies are tools for people with disabilities doesn't mean we must accept only good intentions. We want the best engineers working on our designs, the best marketers making them affordable, and the best politicians making them subsidized.