Inventor of Top-Braille Wins a Prestigious Award, Makes Headlines Around the World

Susan LaVentureEach year, for 109 years, the Lépine Contest in France selects a famous invention. This year the Top-Braille handheld device for instant playback of any printed text in braille or speech has won the prize—selected from more than 500 inventions!

It is so cool to see how far technology has come in making communication accessible for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. It’s great to see that this device is being recognized and I hope that it will bring awareness to the public about the importance of technology’s role in keeping communications accessible for blind and visually impaired people. Especially as the world moves forward in technical advancements with new ways of communicating—whether it be the Internet, computers, phones, television, film—we need to make sure these new social networking features and functions are made accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.

The inventor, Raoul Parienti, is a former math teacher and engineer. His sister was the inspiration for the invention as she was visually impaired and brought to his attention that very few documents are written in braille. The device currently reads seven languages: French, English, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Dutch.

I thought it was an interesting fact since Louise Braille, the inventor of the braille code, was from France, too—born 201 years ago!