Assistive devices and technology

A sneak peek at future education

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Assistive technologies are developing rapidly and as they filter into classrooms, visually impaired students can look forward to a much more engaging time at school.


SANCB’s former Resource Centre Manager, Adam Ely says “the classroom of the future is an interactive, multi-sensory learning experience catering to individual needs”.


Addressing delegates at SABC Eduweek Conference in Midrand on 29 June 2016, Adam explained that classrooms would include cutting edge assistive technology and interactive teaching tools such as digital textbooks, white boards, innovative teaching software, internet connectivity, screen reading and magnification software.


Edit Micro, SANCB’s partner in the project, said classrooms such as these help motivate and inspire learners to achieve their full potential.
 

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Take special care when you see a white cane

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White Cane Safety Day
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The white cane has come a long way!

It’s no longer just a device that helps a blind person safely navigate their surroundings, but is a symbol of their independence and ability to come and go as they please. That’s why we always celebrate International White Cane Safety Day in October with a series of national and provincial walks.

Lafarge is our long-time partner in our national walk, which was held in Bloemfontein.

In the Western Cape, St Dunstan’s Association for South African War-Blinded Veterans hosted their Long Cane Rally in Green Point. The SANCB hosted its first rally in Mafikeng, sponsored by the North West Department of Health – whose staff went the extra mile by walking blindfolded.

Let’s hope that this growing event helps create greater awareness about the challenges of travelling alone with a white cane, and encourages motorists to take special care when they see people using a white cane.

To renew your support and make a donation now, click here

 

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Our Enterprise Shop

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Collage of Enterprise Shop equipment
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How does a blind person tell the time or make notes? They use gadgets from our Enterprise Shop.

We produce and print Braille and stock a wide range of assistive devices and technology to assist visually impaired persons. This includes products like:

  • Mobility canes (white canes)
  • Braille and talking watches
  • Liquid Level Indicators
  • Computer screen readers
  • Braille displays
  • Screen magnification software
  • Toys for visually impaired children and much more!

For your convenience we have developed a brand new catalogue with the most popular products that we currently have in stock in our Resource Centre. Please click here for the PDF version or click here for the Word version. Please note that we do not always stock all items in the catalogue.

Please make an appointment to view the technology. Our knowledgeable staff will assess you and your challenges to suggest the best possible solutions for you. 

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Next Generation™ Perkins Brailler

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The Next Generation™ Perkins Brailler® is here!

This well-loved classic has been re-imagined, retaining all the attributes that make it the most widely-used braille writer in the world. They have also added new features that make the Brailler more portable and easier to use.

Specifications:
Weight: 25% lighter than the Classic Perkins Brailler
Dimensions: 30.5 cm L x 25.4 cm W x 15.2 cm H
Maximum paper size: Accommodates 28 cells, up to 21.6 cm W x 35.6 cm L paper

Features and Functions :

  • Lighter and smaller: easier to hold and carry
  • Quieter: The keystroke noise is reduced, plus the end-of-line bell is audible but muted
  • Gentle touch keys: Less force required plus keys are lower and easier to reach
  • Easy-erase button: push it to erase the entire braille cell
  • Easy-grip handle: The brailler base is also a handle
  • Reading rest: the back panel can be raised to provide a flat surface for reading the page
  • Front panel margin guides: easily accessible; no more reaching around the back
  • Highly durable: due to a combination of metal inner frame and parts, and high-impact polycarbonate outer shell
  • Paper-feed knobs: easier to hold and turn
  • High contrast colors: between keys and brailler body for low vision users
  • Environmentally friendly: uses recyclable plastic and less oil
  • Sleek design: with tactile-friendly materials
  • Cool colours: APH blue, raspberry, and midnight blue

For more information about local distribution and sales in Africa, contact our Resource Centre on +27 12 452-3811 or send an email via our website.

Or visit the Perkins website.

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History of the Perkins Brailler

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Photo of a man using the New Generation Perkins Brailler
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The Perkins Brailler, viewed by many as the premiere mechanical Braille writer in the world, was first produced in 1951 and was the brainchild of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. The design team was lead by David Abraham. The quality and reliability of the Perkins Brailler has kept it in demand and in production ever since.
Its success lies in two, nearly contradictory foundations – the remarkable precision of its design and production; and the bold financial commitment and idealism of its producers. The leadership and trustees of Howe Press and its parent organisation, the Perkins School for the Blind, understood the need for the new Brailler, and supported it unfalteringly through fifteen years of design, preparation, and expenditures that committed more than half of the capital of Howe Press.
On 18 January 2008, we celebrated the 10 year partnership between the South African National Council for the Blind and the Perkins School near Boston in the USA. This partnership was established to benefit visually impaired people in the developing world by increasing access to an affordable way of writing in Braille.

Council runs a factory in Cape Town where Perkins Braillers are assembled for South Africa, African and other developing countries. The factory has manufactured more than 27 000 Braillers in the past 13 years and by doing this, has empowered many blind people in the developing world, allowing them to write Braille and become literate.

Local manufacture has cut the cost of a Perkins Brailler by 45% as compared to the imported product. The Perkins Brailler project has been incorporated into Council and a management structure including the Chairperson, Treasurer and an NEC member has been set up. Representatives from Perkins also serve on this management committee. During the past financial year a total of 6610 Classic Perkins and 325 Electric Braillers were assembled at the Cape Town factory. Over a three year period, commencing in 2007, the production increased from 35 machines per week to 35 machines per day. The assembly line comprises 18 assemblers, nine of whom are disabled.
David Geyer, the 1st Perkins Brailler user in South Africa, talked at the 10 year celebrations in Cape Town about his experience, holding the notes he prepared on his Perkins. He told the audience about his first encounter with a Perkins Brailler and how much easier writing is on the new Brailler than what he had become accustomed to on the old Braillers. He bought himself a Perkins when he left school and paid a whopping R90 for a new machine! The Perkins has served him well over the years and despite not being serviced, he has never had problems with the Brailler.

In 2008, the factory started assembling the new Electric Brailler in anticipation of the Louis Braille Bicentenary celebrations in January 2009.
On 3 October 2008, Perkins School for the Blind and American Printing House for the Blind announced the New Next Generation™ Perkins Brailler®. This new mechanical Braille writer is a modern redesign of the classic Perkins Brailler. The design effort was led by David Morgan, General Manager of Perkins Products. After extensive user feedback and research in the United States, India, Mexico, Malawi, and South Africa, Perkins embarked on an effort to deliver less force, less weight, and less noise while maintaining the basic functions and durability of the original. The Next Generation Perkins features an integrated erase button, paper tray to ease proofreading, reading margin in the front, an integrated handle for carrying, and bright new colours including APH Blue, Raspberry, and Midnight Blue.

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