News & Media

28 July 2015

Braille reader brings exciting potential

Reading the paper is a simple pleasure that most people take for granted but for 67-year-old Andrea Sherry – who is blind – it is one of the things she misses most.

Braille reader brings exciting potential

Reading the paper is a simple pleasure that most people take for granted but for 67-year-old Andrea Sherry – who is blind – it is one of the things she misses most.
Andrea has used the services of Latrobe Community Health Service for over 15 years, but her latest request is a sign of recent technology advances.
“I volunteer in Melbourne with Able Australia. With my supervisor there, we decided to find funding for a braille display device,” says Andrea.
The device connects wirelessly to Andrea’s phone, tablet or desktop computer, then translates text on the screen into braille. As Andrea traces her fingertips across the device, the braille is displayed by pins moving subtly up and down to form the braille characters. The device also allows Andrea to type in braille, and to program menu and app shortcuts.
Andrew Redston, Andrea’s main contact at Latrobe Community Health Service, says providing the device is a reflection of the organisation’s commitment to its clients.
“We really work hard to put our clients, and their wishes, at the centre of everything we do. At times that means thinking creatively, or trying something new – but I think that is really the level of service that clients deserve.”
Andrea is excited about the potential of her new device.
“Now, instead of listening to my phone talk, I can read what’s on the screen. It means that if I’m on the train, my newspaper articles and emails aren’t being read aloud to the whole carriage,” she says.
“There are telephone newspaper services available…but you’ve got to go through 20 menus. But with this device, I’ve got access to the newspaper wherever I am.”