Half the joy of building with LEGOs is incorporating the different colored bricks into your design to create unique patterns and shapes. But unfortunately for the blind and low-vision members of society, the joyous colors go unseen. Looking for ways to improve the experience, LEGO is now working with Brazil’s Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind and the Danish Association of the Blind to develop special bricks for visually-impaired builders.
With the new Braille Bricks, the iconic LEGO bumps facilitate learning in addition to building. Aimed at helping young kids learn Braille, each brick in the roughly 250-piece set represents an alphabet, number (0 – 9), or a math symbol.
According to the European Blind Union, audiobooks and computers have been as impactful to the blind community as any other group in society. But the union argues that the rapid rise in technology means “fewer kids are learning to read Braille.” Treasurer Philippe Chazal says “This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities.”
LEGO is currently testing the Braille Bricks in Danish, Norwegian, English, and Portuguese, with plans to introduce other languages later this year. The company is expected to launch the full set sometime in 2020 and will be donating kits to select blind institutions.
The braille kit is just the latest education-focused collection to come from the beloved company. Last week we reported on a new LEGO competition that helps students from across the globe develop teamwork and STEAM skills through project-based building challenges.