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 .
[James Dyson Award ]