As many of our past articles can attest, LEGO’s an old hand at designing toys and play experiences that are not only fun and educational, but also accessible. One of their current projects has been developing a product that can be used by visually impaired people. The results are inspiring.
LEGO released a press statement on Wednesday, April 24, where they announced LEGO Braille Bricks to the public. The first physical units of the new product was then unveiled in Paris at the Sustainable Brands Conference. Braille Bricks was a collaborative effort by The LEGO Group, LEGO Foundation and various associations for the blind worldwide.
As seen in the images LEGO shared, the Braille Bricks are LEGO bricks that have only a set number of pegs on top, arranged in the dot format of the braille alphabet for the blind. As braille letters and numerals occupy only two columns and three rows max, a regular 4×2 LEGO brick turned into a Braille Brick can have the braille symbol and the letter equivalent in one piece.
LEGO’s push for Braille Bricks is in response to the perceived increasing dependence of blind people and instructors on audio media. By injecting LEGO-style fun into the braille learning experience, visually impaired children and grown-ups can once again help popularize this long-running blind communication medium.
The LEGO Braille Bricks sets, comprising multicolored braille bricks and placemats, are currently being tested in several institutes for the blind in Europe. The actual production version of this product isn’t expected to hit theaters until 2020. Even then, only select blind educational institutions who partner with LEGO might get Braille Bricks for their students.