Low-Cost ‘Mechanical Brailler’ for Blind Students is Developed
A machine to make ‘writing braille’ affordable, easy and fun
The Braille typewriters that are on the market are more expensive than an iPad Air. For a majority of the blind community, who are living in developing countries, purchasing Braillers is prohibitive. To address this condition, a low-cost fully functional mechanical Brailler has been developed, at a cost of less than a ‘Disney land entry ticket.
Praveen Kumar Gorakavi, a 24-year-old ‘President Award winner’ Inventor from India has
designed a low cost Brailler. Negotiations are underway with a few non-profit
institutes and manufacturers to do a trial introduction of the Brailler into the market by the end of 2014..
It is estimated that more than 150 million people use Braille every day. Numerous schools,
institutes and universities are working hand-in-hand to enhance the scope of written
communication of visually challenged people.
Reading Braille is being taught to huge numbers of visually impaired students.
However, several improvements are required in terms of ‘writing braille’. Braille writing aids
have to be made more available. There are still several thousands of people writing braille by
hand with a metal writing slate and stylus.
Different Braillers on the market cost from just over $1,000 to $3,000.
According to World Health Organization’s 2013 bulletin, it is believed that there are 285 million visually impaired people in the world, of which 90% are living in developing countries under poor financial conditions. Access to the expensive Braillers is very difficult for these people. Nineteen million visually-impaired children (under the age of 15), require simple and easy-to-carry braille writing aids.
“With the rising necessity of written communications, for social equality and competence, the
demand for low-cost Braillers is growing in developing worldwide.
The ideology in developing the current machine is to make ‘writing braille’ affordable, easy and
fun. This low weight and low priced Braille embosser is intentionally designed to empower
written communication among the blind community, disregarding their social or financial backdrop.
This Brailler’s internal operation resembles slate-stylus form of braille-character embossing for
short script formulation, with similar character operand orientation. Similarly, the keys are
aligned in a similar fashion to that of Perkin’s Brailler which was developed 50 years ago.
This would enable ready acquaintance of the user to this device and reduces the complexity.
A prototype of the Brailler machine has been developed and tested for its functional
parameters. The Brailler has been developed according to user’s feedback.
Key Features of the product are:
1. Similar on-paper Braille encryption quality like other existing prior-art Braillers. The key alignment and related operational features resemble that of the most used Braillers.
2. Completely operated by mechanical operations. Loads of spring systems (as in prior art
instruments) are replaced with the gear setup to enable smoothness in the instrument,
increased precision, ease of maintenance and lowering the sound during embossing.
3 Paper can be loaded continuously. Existing Braillers operate with one-time, one-paper loading mechanism.
4. No standard paper size is set. A sheet of any length, with the width of an A4 sheet, can
be input to emboss braille.
5. There is a provision for proof reading (accessibility ranges from 6-10 lines counting from
the top) when a paper is in, without any necessity of removal of the paper from the
6. An internal blade arranged at the inner top, as an added accessory, cuts the sheets for
short scribble labels.
7. The brailler instrument is small. It can be carried in any standard back pack.
8.Weight and the durability parameters are competent enough for any challenging usage
of the instrument.
9. It is easy to clean, repair and assemble/disassembl..
How does it work?
It works with simple mechanical operations that are visibly macro-scaled. Complications in the
functional mechanism of prior art Braillers are reduced in this machine, and it is made more
effective in terms of operation and affordability. Step-wise usage of the machine involves:
Step 1: Insert paper(s) up to 20 no’s, of A4 size (or may be of any suitable size) in the pointed
space, at the head site of the brailler. The papers are manually pushed into the Brailler.
Step 2. The rubber/polymer based drum is gently pushed inward to activate the paper
Step 3: The drum is turned clock-wise, till the drum ‘tick returns back to the
Step 4: Is as simple as embossing on a regular braille type writer. Keys are regular
fashioned, with elongated space (like in computer keyboards) and bigger backspace/next-line
Step 5: To begin a new line, the carriage can be returned to its original position (to the left most beginning) by pulling the pointed structure to the left. This can be done by: (a) turning the
structure upwards (otherwise, it is spring-retracted) and (b) dragging it to the left.
At least 6-8 lines that are already embossed can be read at the top end.
Sling bags are suggested to carry the machine. The size, shape and weight of the machine will