The Insta-Braille was created by the team to help combat the Braille literacy crisis in America. According to the National Federation of the Blind, 90% of blind children in America today are not taught to read and write Braille. As a result, these children will grow up and 50% will not graduate high school while 70% will be unemployed. The team was shocked by these statistics and wanted to help blind children have a brighter future. Read more about the Braille Literacy Crisis
In designing the Insta-Braille 1.0, the inventors first took a children's sound book apart to see if the technology could be used to teach the Braille characters. The team learned that the recorded sound is stored in a microchip until a button is pushed. When a button is pushed, the sound is retrieved and played through a speaker. Using this knowledge, the inventors reverse engineered the sound book and came up with the concept of Insta-Braille.
The Insta-Braille 1.0 sound module is programmed with a recording of each letter of the alphabet. A person who is visually impaired can feel the Braille character and then press the corresponding button to hear the name of the letter. Through repetition, the first 26 Braille characters can be easily memorized by both adults and children.
After meeting with members of the blind community, the inventors quickly learned that Insta-Braille 1.0
could be enhanced to meet the needs of a larger segment of the blind population. Insta-Braille 2.0 not only teaches the 26 Braille characters,
it also teaches basic Braille contractions and numbers. The second generation product also contains a SD card slot, so the recorded sound
can be in various languages. A headphone jack allows the user to enjoy the Insta-Braille in a quiet learning environment.
The inventors have a fully functioning 3d printed prototype of Insta-Braille 2.0. The inventors have secured a
provisional patent for the Insta-Braille 2.0 and plan to apply for a full utility patent.
Read the provisional patent
Our Prototype in Use
The Insta-Braille 1.0 prototype is currently in use by blind students at the Center for the Visually Impaired STARS program in Atlanta, Georgia. The STARS program provides elementary, middle and high school students with the skills and self-confidence to live with vision loss. Comprehensive in nature; STARS stands for Social, Therapeutic, Academic and Recreational Services. The program offers year-round classes. Learn more about the STARS program
"Over the course of the past month I have been using the Insta-Braille in all of my Braille classes. This device has been useful in teaching not only the elementary students, but I have also used it for the middle and high school students as well. I have mostly used it for students who are in the process of learning Braille, but it has also come in handy for students who have already learned Braille, but who are having trouble remembering the dots.
The students I have introduced it to thus far seem to love playing with the Insta-Braille. It has also been helpful in getting students who are in the process of learning Braille to remember which dots make up which letter. Since they view the Insta-Braille as a toy, they have an easier and more fun time remembering their letters.
. . . This device has been extremely helpful in teaching all of my students, no matter the age, their Braille alphabet. I think that the Insta-Braille could be used to teach anyone, no matter the age. I have enjoyed using the Insta-Braille to teach my students the Braille alphabet."~Ashley, STARS Instructor
STARS Program Visit
Daniel Torre, one of the Insta-Braille inventors, helps a visually impaired student at the STARS program use the first generation Insta-Braille prototype.
STARS Program Visit
Inventors Garrett Barker and Christian Carto explain the Insta-Braille 1.0 prototype to a visually imapired student and an instructor at the STARS program.