I am the co-founder and CTO of Thinkerbell Labs (Project Mudra). We make braille literacy devices for the visually impaired and we are using technology to move closer to a more inclusive world.
Project Mudra will revolutionise education for the visually impaired.
The venture aims to solve the problem of low literacy among visually impaired people. Education needs to be inclusive and accessible to all, and Project Mudra’s technology is developing a level playing field for the visually impaired.
There are 285 Million visually impaired people in the world. Given that a tactile medium is the only way in which the visually impaired can read and write, it is extremely important for them to learn Braille. There is a direct correlation of low braille literacy and unemployment among the visually impaired. However, even in developed countries, braille literacy rates are extremely low. It is only 4% in the UK. In the USA, only 10% are literate in Braille and in India it is less than 1%.
The pedagogy of braille education for all these people has not seen a change in a very long time. Current primary education tools include wooden blocks, marbles and plastic slates, with continuous 1:1 teacher supervision. There is very minimal use of technology in this field, thus indicating a massive opportunity to better the efficiency and quality of braille education.
Project Mudra’s flagship product Annie, addresses the pain point of low braille literacy among the visually impaired by helping them learn how to Read, Write and Type in Braille. Annie can be used directly by the CYP (children and young people with Visual Impairment) to self-learn Braille and be monitored by the teachers or parents. The technology will enable self learning (& homework) which is completely missing in today’s methods, introduce collective and competitive learning, provide access to various braille based content and bring in easy tracking of progress.