Impressive advances for the blind abound, but a MIT design team has taken blind technology back to basics with the 6dot Braille Labeler, a tool that prints labels in Braille. The labeler, which was this week selected as the James Dyson Award People's Choice Winner, aims to solve the problem of error-prone, clunky Braille labeling systems with an intuitive and reliable design.
The 6dot Labeler embosses Braille into adhesive labeling tape with a standard Braille keyboard. unlike most Braille labelers that mechanically print out lettering, 6dot embosses letters electronically to minimize mistakes. The labeler is ultra-portable, too. It comes with a neck strap and ergonomic casing that rests on the knee or a table. A button cuts tape at the end of each label, and a tab assists users in peeling off label backing.
The MIT team is already far along the production process—a second working prototype was developed in April, and the MIT-ers have been courted by two companies interested in manufacturing and distribution. If 6dot wins the $28,600 James Dyson Award, it will undoubtedly move more quickly though production. It faces some heavy competition in the U.S. National Shortlist, though, including the Squeezo Trashcan, the Styrofoam Beach Cleanup, and Fresh, the Shrinking Milk Jug.