The AbilityNet’s Tech4Good awards were held this month – the UK’s only award ceremony celebrating entrepreneurs and businesses innovating technology for the greater good of society (except for The SPARKies ‘Good’ award, of course!). Those nominated are doing profound things with their techie knowledge, fundamentally creating a world we’d all rather live in, and Bristol Braille Technology did the South West proud by bagging the prestigious Accessibility Award.
“The Tech4Good Awards shine a light on the most diverse range of projects, each one as brilliant and innovative as the next”
Judges were impressed with the company’s advancements in a scarcely explored area to make the lives of blind and partially sighted individuals marginally easier by building an affordable Braille e-reader, called Canute.
Canute has been such a tremendous success as it’s been designed by and for blind people, thus pinpointing and tackling the exact problems blind people face. The reader can display a full page of numbers and words, which may sound like basic stuff but makes the Canute incredibly unique as others readers will only show a single line of text.
Bristol Braille wishes to sell their technology for 20 times cheaper than the current equivalent, which can set you back 1000s of pounds, to the price an iPhone may cost. This is crucial as presently blind people have no alternative options if this is out of their budget.
Doing it for each other
AbilityNet’s Tech4Good award ceremony was a night filled with commendations for selfless individuals. Mark Walker, Head of Marketing and Communications at AbilityNet tells us, “I set up the Tech4Good Awards to celebrate all the many different ways that technology is being used to make the world a better place.
“We aim to reverse the decline in Braille literacy amongst blind people by creating affordable and inventive new Braille technology”
“No other awards really highlight the connection between technology and improving people’s lives, be it in health, education or day to day life. The Tech4Good Awards shine a light on the most diverse range of projects, each one as brilliant and innovative as the next, which makes the judging extremely difficult to do.”
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This year’s event saw over 200 nominees – eliciting an inspiring thought that so many people are pushing tech for good to its very limits.
Bristol Braille stood out from the rest of the cohort when it came to enhancing accessibility. Mark says what the company is doing is paramount to improving the quality of life for blind and partially sighted individuals: “Affordable Braille is essential for blind literacy, education and employment, yet Braille use has been declining for decades due to stagnant technology.”
“Bristol Braille Technology has built a revolutionary and affordable Braille e-reader”
Ed Rodgers (pictured left), Director of Bristol Braille, wants to tackle this issue with Canute: “We aim to reverse the decline in Braille literacy amongst blind people by creating affordable and inventive new Braille technology.
“We thought there weren’t any projects looking to solve this from a mechanical angle, looking about how to use technologies and motors we already have, rather than smart materials and other lab-based solutions.”