Lego has recently announced plans to create Braille and Audio Instructions to give people who are blind or vision impaired a chance to create Lego sets.
The idea began when Matthew Shifrin, a blind Lego fan since childhood, was given a Lego set from a family friend that came with a binder of Braille instructions, hand-written using a Braille typewriter. He realised that this wasn’t something he could keep to himself, and so he started up the Legofortheblind website. The website was where he and his family friend, made Braille and audio instructions for people who were blind or vision impaired.
The website was a success and almost immediately Matthew and his family friend Lilya were flooded with requests for different sets to be made accessible with their Braille system. Unfortunately, Matthew had to turn down many of these requests as he didn’t have the capabilities to be filling out hundreds of orders with just him and his friend. He turned to The Lego Foundation, who embraced the idea of Braille and Audio Based Lego Instructions with open arms.
Sharlini, a 13-year-old Lego Fanatic , shares her enthusiasm about the news:
“It’s a great chance for everyone, no matter your capabilities, to be able to enjoy a personal favourite pastime of mine. Building Lego is meant to bring people together, and this news is proof that nothing, not even being a person that’s blind or vision impaired, can stop that.”
The Pilot project has commenced with The Lego Foundation dubbing it as ‘Lego Braille & Audio Building Instructions: A pilot experience’. The timeline on the website shows they are planning to review feedback from September – November before announcing any future plans in January 2020.
While Lego may not be seen as a traditional access story, its growing relevance in teaching children how to interact with robotics and the Internet of Things makes this an exciting new development.
Special thanks to Sharlini for contributing to this article.