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Dotty: Braille Learning Aids

Dotty is an independent development designed entirely by PEGA D&E. Unlike most of the IT products on the market, Dotty serves a different purpose and a specific market; Dotty is made to assist the visually impaired to learn braille in an easier and faster way. In order for Dotty to succeed, more in depth market research was required and a wider cross-industry alliance was formed. In this project, both PEGATRON and PEGA D&E provided their utmost experience in product development, design spirit, and mechatronics technology to help those who are in need. In a product-oriented sense, Dotty assists the visually impaired in their pre-school period or anyone who is new to braille; in a general sense, Dotty shortens the gap between the visually impaired and technology.

The Project Background

China has the highest number of people who suffer from visual impairment. Almost five million people in China suffer from the condition, making up 18% of visually impaired patients worldwide.  

The environment that visually impaired patients spend their early years in greatly affects their personality development; most pre-school children who suffer from vision impairment spend these times at home. The impairment is one of the factors that affect development; however, it is not an absolute factor. Physical and mental development is built up by environment and education, which enables children to become outgoing, sociable, and to have an eagerness to be part of society.

  • Shanghai School for the Blind.

Visually impaired children normally attend school around the ages of six to eight, and need to spend at least six months to learn Braille. Braille uses the same system as Chinese Pinyin, and requires a special writing board, pens, paper and an alphabet chart to help students learn braille. Students learn by corresponding the Pinyin pronunciations with dotted alphabets; therefore it is extremely important for the pronunciations to be precise.

  • Design provides visually-impaired children with newer and easier ways to learn.

Current Challenges

The proper way to write Braille is to dot the words on the paper from right to left. When students read Braille, they flip the dotted paper over and read the paper with their hands from left to right. In order to learn Braille, children not only need to learn the original form of Braille, but also its mirror image; this process often creates confusion for younger children. Another challenge is the amount of force needed to imprint dots onto the paper, which is even harder for weaker and smaller children who already have difficulty holding the heavy Braille pen.