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Braille Learning on Demand

NSF Award:

SBIR Phase I: Artificial Intelligence Software to Tutor Literary Braille to the Blind and Visually Impaired  (Quantum Simulations Incorporated)

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While Braille is the primary medium for written communication for persons who are blind, a dramatic decline has occurred in Braille literacy. This drop-off has negatively impacted academic performance.

To improve Braille literacy, researchers are developing the first-ever Braille education software based on artificial intelligence (AI). The software will be available through the Internet, enabling students to achieve literacy and perform at a higher level. Better Braille fluency offers these students more opportunities to advance and enjoy a productive quality of life.

The tutor's initial target audience is K-12 students, the majority of whom attend mainstream classes assisted by teachers of the visually impaired (TVI). The Web-based tutor will enable anyone to receive expert support on demand during study at school and home. Importantly, the tutor will operate using standard accessibility technology already in use. Because the tutor is supplemental to existing curricula and integrates directly with existing lessons, it will not require teachers/TVIs to change lessons, teaching materials or schedules.

The use of proven and effective AI technology in this area of special education is unprecedented. Its application will make a meaningful difference in providing equitable education opportunities to all students because it addresses basic literacy issues.

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  • a sample screen from quantum's braille tutor
A sample screen from Quantum's Braille Tutor
Benny Johnson, Quantum Simulations Inc.

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