A youth robotics team in Edmonton has created 3D printed braille blocks dedicated to supporting those with visual impairments.
Just a month ago, the Cyber Eagles Robotics team discovered that there were only two sets of braille blocks in all of Alberta — one in Calgary, and one in Edmonton.
Using computer-aided design software, the team produced 18 sets of braille blocks. On Saturday, the blocks were presented to members of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and the Alberta Society for the Visually Impaired (ASVI).
Carl Busch, a program coordinator of the ambassador program at the CNIB, says the blocks are going to be educational tools that the institute uses when entering communities for public education work.
"These are going to be a fantastic resource that we can use in talking about braille literacy in the community," Busch said.
The 3D-printed custom braille blocks are going to be distributed to local libraries across Alberta, says Carl Busch from CNIB. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)
Some kits will be donated to local libraries, according to Busch.
"Our public education efforts are growing, we are expanding using mobile hubs to some of the smaller communities in the province," said Busch.
"This is something that we can add to each of those kits that we use in our educational efforts across the province."
This school year, eight-year-old Alexandra Holloran doesn't have access to a braille Lego set for spelling practice due to limited resources.
Eight-year-old Alexandra Halloran plays with her new set of 3D-printed braille blocks. (Emily Fitzpatrick/CBC)
The 3D printed braille blocks will allow her to continue her braille literacy at home.
"I love this way more. It's way more cool," she said.
Alexandra's dad, Kiernan Halloran, says the braille blocks are a great addition to her learning toolbox.
"Having another tool for her is fantastic," said Halloran.
"Especially one that's literally custom made for her, rather than just being custom made for children with sight loss."