Having fun while learning leads to better retention. So when World Health Organization (WHO) statistics hit LEGO’s radar re: an estimated 19 million visually impaired children around the globe they took notice. When they discovered there’s also a decline in learning Braille, they took action. Enter LEGO’s new project – LEGO Braille Bricks.
Touching of the importance of the project, Philippe Chazal, Treasurer of the European Blind Union said in a statement that the use of Braille has been declining due to audiobooks and computer programs. “This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities.” Chazal anticipates LEGO Braille Bricks boosting interest in learning Braille.”
LEGO Braille Bricks have been years in the making, with the idea first floated in 2011. Over the years, the company has collaborated with blind associations in Denmark Brazil, Norway and the UK. The first prototypes, which are going through concept testing, are molded with studs used to indicate individual letters in the Braille alphabet. Interaction with sighted individuals is also encouraged through printed letters and characters.
For LEGO Group Senior Art Director, Morten Bonde, LEGO Braille Bricks hold special meaning. Bonde suffers from a genetic eye disorder that’s leading to blindness. In a statement, Bonde said, of the project, “I’m moved to see the impact this product has on developing blind and visually impaired children’s academic confidence and curiosity already in its infant days.”
Scheduled to launch in 2020, LEGO Braille Bricks will contain 250 LEGO Braille Bricks covering the full alphabet, numbers 0-9, select math symbols and, as with all LEGOs, inspiration to create and learn with a healthy dose of fun.