Fittle - An Educational Toy for Blind Children
Fittle is a revolution in how visually challenged kids understand the world. It is a one of its kind word puzzle through which kids can learn new words, and learn how things are shaped.
Gandhinagar, Gujarat (I-Newswire) September 28, 2013 - A visually impaired child sees the world through touch. Yet only a few such children come to know the joy of reading; out of the 39 million blind people around the world, only ten percent use Braille. Learning Braille can become a lot more fun and effective if it's taught interactively.
Designer Tania Jain from NID, Gandhinagar has created a new toy called Fittle that helps children learn Braille, construct words, and understand the shapes of objects-all through playful 3D puzzles. She is working with ophthalmologist Dr.Anthony Vipin Das from L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad to build the first Fittle curriculum for the 26 alphabets in English Braille (A for Airplane, B for Boat, and so on). A graded curriculum is being developed with input from experienced educators of visually challenged kids at the LV Prasad Eye Institute in India, and they plan to send some of the first Fittle kits to schools for the visually impaired around the world.
The aim is to transform how blind children perceive and understand the world around them. The project stemmed out of a multidisciplinary workshop called the DIy Workshop, organized at the BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus by the Camera Culture Group of MIT Media Lab, Tata Center for Technology and Design, Perkins School for the Blind, and LV Prasad Eye Institute.
The concept involves breaking down objects into as many blocks as there are letters in the word. So, the word "fish" is constructed by joining together four puzzle blocks that have the letters F-I-S-H on them, each embossed in Braille. When the visually challenged child fits together the blocks by feeling and matching the right shapes, s/he can read the word "fish" in Braille and also feel around the contours of the entire block, which is shaped like a fish.
In this way, visually challenged kids can comprehend the shapes of objects easily while learning spellings of new words with a parent or a teacher. This can have a huge impact on their understanding of the world. In the realm of education for the visually challenged, it's a revolution.
Fittle wants to give all visually impaired children the resources they need to learn about the world around them. To help make Fittle as accessible as possible, it has been put out as open source. Anyone can download and 3D-print Fittle blocks at www.fittle.in in their own home or school for their children, students, or neighborhood friends' kid.
The team has also collaborated with 3D HUBS, a worldwide crowd printing platform. This partnership will see 3D HUBS connect the Fittle team with their 3D printing centers in various places so that they can 3D print the puzzles, and get them delivered to blind schools in those cities. In their endeavor to take Fittle to every part of the world, another great organization, called Orbis, has agreed to help the team out. They are taking the Airplane Fittle with them on their one-of-its-kind Flying Eye Hospital to expose every new place they go to, to the wonder of this playful braille learning toolkit.In the very near future, Fittle puzzles will have added interactivity through sound. Imagine the joy of a child when s/he puts together the fish, and hears the sound of a fish jumping out and back into water!
Visually impaired kids first witnessed the joy of Fittle at Devnar School for the Visually Impaired in India. To keep spreading that joy, the team has launched a crowd funding campaign on the famous Indiegogo platform to raise funds for research, marketing, production, development, and shipping (and some goodies for contributors).
You can view the project at www.fittle.in
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Published On:September 28, 2013
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