A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
"This can change the course of history for kids who are blind."
-Kate Crohan, Perkins School for the Blind
97% of blind adults who cannot read braille are unemployed, yet only 8.5% of blind students receive enough instruction to learn braille.
The biggest barrier to braille literacy is a lack or complete absence of high-quality braille instruction. Currently, blind students are unable to learn and practice braille reading independently - all of their learning hinges on the presence of a teacher who knows both braille, and how to teach reading.
Most blind and visually impaired students receive instruction from an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired, who travels from school-to-school, and often from district-to-district. Many blind students meet with a specialist as infrequently as once every two weeks. There is a major teacher shortage crisis for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVIs).
Until now, no one had figured out a way to scale best-practice reading instruction to blind students. Thus, the majority of blind students in the US are illiterate.
The Read Read is a revolutionary, patent pending tool that allows blind and visually impairedstudents to learn braille and/or how to read, independently.
Kate Crohan, a braille and technology teacher at the Perkins School for the Blind, said that the Read Read can "change the course of history for kids who are blind."
Making it Happen:
We are launching this Kickstarter so that Kate’s students and children like them can have the Read Read available to help them learn braille and how to read.
Our goal is to equip at least 400 blind or visually impaired students with this empowering tool.
We need your help and support to do this.
100% of Kickstarter donations will go toward supplying the Read Read to blind and visually impaired children.
We recently wrapped up an incredible 12 week pilot at the Perkins School for the Blind, where students continually expressed their delight in learning with the Read Read. During piloting, one student who is blind and on the Autism spectrum touched the braille on one of the Read Read's tiles for the first time, heard the immediate audio feedback of the letter sound, and loudly exclaimed, "WOW! THAT'S HUGE! THAT'S REALLY COOL! I LIKE IT!"
A teenage student who is blind and on the Autism spectrum had had great difficulty learning braille letters, and hadn't managed to master the first 10 letters of the alphabet. His teacher sat amazed at his engagement with the Read Read, and in only two days, using the Read Read for less than 20 minutes each day, the student learned braille letters 'A' through 'J'.
What it Takes:
We have been making the Read Read one-at-a-time at the Harvard Innovation Lab, and now we’re ready to make it available to blind children everywhere. In order to finance the startup manufacturing costs, we need to reach a critical mass - donating, sharing this page, and actively reaching out to families who have a student with a visual impairment or blindness will help us ensure that we will be able to make the Read Read available to kids who so desperately need it. Exceeding our goal just means that we will be able to provide more units to children in need.
The Read Read has been designed within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, under the guidance of the creator of the UDL guidelines, Dr. David Rose of Harvard University.
The design and function of the Read Read have been developed with feedback from the former U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs, Dr. Thomas Hehir.
The braille placement of the Read Read has been developed with feedback from the Assistive Technology Specialist at the Perkins Braille Library, Cory Kadlick.
The Read Read has been tested by over 300 educators and school administrators at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The Read Read was demonstrated at this year's Council for Exceptional Children Conference. The Read Read has won many awards. Recently, the Read Read was presented at a UDL Expo where it won the award for Best New and Innovative UDL Technology.
Device Description for the Visually Impaired and Blind:
The Read Read is a hardware device that consists of a set of tiles that represents the speech sounds in the English language. The Read Read utilizes the same 'capacitive-touch' technology that allows you to interact with the touchscreen of a smartphone or tablet, but pairs the technology with manipulative-based, best practice reading instruction. New learners quickly observe that when a tile is placed in a slot and touched, the device plays an audio file of the sound that the letter makes, for as long as you touch the tile. For example, if a child places a tile marked with the letter 'm' into the slot and swipes under the letter, the device will make the sound /mmm/ until the child finishes swiping. If multiple tiles are placed beside one another to form a phonetic word, swiping across the tiles will result in the device sounding out the word, articulating each letter's sound as the child swipes across that letter, just as a reading teacher would. The tiles incorporate braille, so that blind students may learn braille and braille literacy without the need for constant assistance from a specialist. When a child touches the braille on a tile, they get immediate audio feedback about the letter's name, braille dot configuration, or corresponding phonetic sound, depending on the mode that meets the learner's needs.
We have successfully piloted the Read Read at the Perkins School for the Blind with students who are blind, students who are visually impaired, students who are on the Autism spectrum, and students who have diminished motor function.
We have worked with a team of electrical and mechanical engineers, and have official estimates on every cost required to have the Read Read professionally manufactured, assembled, and delivered by November. This itemized budget is equal to our funding goal.
The only risk we have is not meeting our funding goal, so please contribute now to ensure that this life-changing technology is made available to blind and visually impaired children. 100% of Kickstarter donations will go toward supplying the Read Read to blind and visually impaired children. Please give a child the gift of literacy today. We can’t do this without your help!
Every 5 donations will supply the Read Read to a visually impaired or blind child. You will receive a brief biography about the child your gift has helped and how you have made a difference in their learning. You will also receive a personalized braille note and a commemorative Read Read tile.
You will donate the Read Read to a blind or visually impaired child who cannot use braille or read. We will provide information about the child benefiting from your generous gift, and send you a commemorative Read Read tile.
You will supply the Read Read to children in 2 classrooms at the school for the blind of your choice: you will select this school once the Kickstarter campaign closes. You will receive a personal letter from the students who use the Read Reads that you provide to learn how to read. You will also receive a personalized braille note and a commemorative Read Read tile.
You will supply the Read Read to children in 10 classrooms at the school for the blind of your choice: you will select this school once the Kickstarter campaign closes. You will be invited to the Read Read launch event at Harvard, to join students and teachers who use and love the Read Read, and hear firsthand how the Read Read is changing their lives. You will receive a personal letter from the students who use the Read Reads that you provide to learn how to read. You will also receive a personalized braille note and a commemorative Read Read tile.
You will supply the Read Read to children in 20 classrooms at the US school for the blind of your choice: you will select this school once the Kickstarter campaign closes. You will be invited to dinner with the creator of UDL (and the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines) and recipient of the Council for Exceptional Children's Lifelong Achievement Award, Dr. David Rose of Harvard University. You will also be invited to the Read Read launch event at Harvard, to join students and teachers who use and love the Read Read, and hear firsthand how the Read Read is changing their lives. You will receive a personal letter from the students who use the Read Reads that you provide to learn how to read. You will receive a personalized braille note and a commemorative Read Read tile. You will be asked to personally present the Read Read to blind and visually impaired students attending the launch event at Harvard.