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Blind Entrepreneur creates language-based instructions for LEGO construction toys

Shared by Sara Di Fabio on 2020-05-20 11:33

About the solution

Matthew Shifrin is a blind entrepreneur who, with the help of his babysitter, has been creating language-based instructions to play with LEGO for blind kids since he was a teenager. After he launched his own website where he was sharing instructions, many parents reached out asking for more information. The interest from parents gave him the idea to approach the LEGO company and scale up the project.

“I had a friend, Lilya, who would write down all the building steps for me so that I could upload them into a system that allowed me to read the building steps on a braille reader through my fingers,” Matthew explained.

The LEGO foundation worked with him and partnered with the Austrian research institute for artificial intelligence to scale up Matthew’s project. LEGO created braille and audio instructions to help children who are blind or visually impaired.

The Austrian institute used specially designed software to translate building instructions for the construction toys.

“This is extremely important for blind children because there aren’t a lot of places where we can say, ‘look mom and dad! I built this on my own… I did this,” said Matthew. “for blind children, we don’t have access to what sighted kids are used to. LEGO bricks enable us to learn about our environment, to see the world.”

The instructions are available in English, free of charge, on the LEGO audio instructions website. The goal for the future is to include more languages.

Adapted from: https://www.designboom.com/technology/lego-audio-and-braille-instruction...
More information: http://legofortheblind.com/about/

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Matthew Shifrin born in 1997 is from the USA. To play with LEGO constructions toys, he created language-based instructions helped by a friend and then shared the instructions on his own website. Because of the high interest from parents, he decided to contact LEGO to scale up the project. LEGO developed braille and audio instructions to cater for visually impaired or blind children which are available for free.

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