How can we make the act of reading pictures more attractive for the visually impaired community, and spark a love for reading that would last a lifetime?

Visually Impaired Kids First Interaction with the Picture Book

Introducing the First-Ever Picture Series for the Visually Impaired Community

A New Visual Language Beyond Braille

Beyond Braille series comes as breakthrough research for the visually impaired to explore pictures like never before. Perhaps for the first time, the visually impaired can sense the real shapes of objects/figures in the images with their sense of touch.

Most of the information we consume based on visual cues from books in the schools to the restaurants’ menus. But if you observe a significant minority of the human population who suffer from visual impairment, including blindness. They usually miss out on a lot of critical information that is conveyed through pictures. To be specific, according to a report published by WHO, globally, the number of people who are visually impaired is estimated to be 285 million, of whom 39 million are blind.

A variety of methods has already been developed to communicate information to the visually impaired. Braille, a system of raised dots, is widely used by them to read and write. But the problem lies here, that when you think of books in Braille, it’s likely that what comes to mind are plain white sheets embossed with dots. It’s hard to imagine a book in a tactile illustration styled picture book made for them.

 

Picture Books for the Visually Impaired Community

 

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Yet this is precisely why we developed an idea of illustration picture series for the visually impaired community on a scale appropriate to sense, visualize, and imagine the illustrations in the book. Compared with the braille books, these picture books include simplified graphics making it easier for the visually impaired to understand. Additionally, it also uses braille cues/indications to support the visuals in the book. They are lightweight and durable, have the option of customizing them in the size required. The books are visually appealing, and bright colors aim to give the partially visually impaired an enhancing experience. Not only that, but the books also have an option of including text integrating it into mainstream education, and promote inclusiveness.

The project is a brainchild of Ms. Nupur Agarwal, founder of Beyond Braille. While pursuing her Masters at CEPT University in 2014, Nupur worked on the concept of a tactile picture book for the VI community, exploring and developing it further with different mediums and materials, she also created alternative options with 3D printing & other embossed illustration methods.

Speaking of the tremendous response and the feedback we got from the visually impaired. The children were quite fascinated; their fingertips felt the illustrations for the first time. Their faces expressed curiosity, joy, and pride as they realised that they understood the objects’ shapes and figures in the pictures. These books also paved a way to boost their self-confidence and sense of independence. To seek protection on the innovation made, a patent has already been filed and applied for PCT.

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