Braille bracelet feels good, wins award
Sunday 24 October 2010
The Braille Alphabet Bracelet designed by Leslie Ligon, who has a blind son, aims to promote dropping literacy rates for the blind. The bracelet also won a People's Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York on October 14.
The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum presented its fifth People's Design Award to the Braille Alphabet Bracelet Thursday, October 14, at its 11th annual National Design Awards gala in New York. US White House Deputy Social Secretary Ebs Burnough and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley announced the winning design and presented the award to Leslie Ligon, designer of At First Sight Braille Jewelry.
After thousands of votes were cast during the course of the People's Design Award competition, the Braille Alphabet Bracelet, a bracelet featuring the entire alphabet in Braille on the front and print in the back, emerged as the public's favorite design.
Ligon, the mother of a blind son, created the line of functional Braille jewelry to increase awareness of Braille literacy. The bracelet retails at $40 (29 euros).
While only 10 percent of legally blind people in the US can read Braille, a reported 90 percent of blind persons who hold jobs are Braille literate. Though Braille is thought to be the main way blind people read and write, out of the reported 2 million visually impaired population in Britain, only around 15,000 to 20,000 people are estimated to use Braille, with more and more people relying on electronic screen reader software instead.
To enhance life and work experience, visually impaired persons have access to Braille laptops, Braille mobile phones, and Braille book readers, and even Braille label makers and a Braille Rubik's cube. However, because of the low incidence of blindness, the market and drive for innovation remains relatively small, and the retail costs of technological advances are high.
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