There are 1.3 million legally blind people in the United States and less than 10% are braille readers.  Only 5% of books are accessible to the visually impaired.

This statistic may change due to a recent competition held at MIT’s premier technology design competition.   The requirements were to “come up with an idea for a revolutionary device that would make peoples lives better.”  They had 15 hours to come up with an idea.   A team of six women of diverse academic backgrounds named “Team Tactile” created the foundation for a device that would convert “text-to-braille.”

Currently, there are devices available but at a cost of $2500, and this group could make this product for a cost of $100.   The difference in costs makes this available to a much larger audience in the visually impaired community.

Team Tactile won the competition and were selected to be a part of Microsoft’s #MakeWhatsNext Patent Program that will help in getting this device patented and also empower women to bridge the gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This device has obstacles to overcome but the potential is huge and will make such a difference for the hearing impaired community.   We  wish Team Tactile success and gratitude for this innovative device and for changing lives.

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