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Mountbatten Brailler
computerised braille writer for blind people

This is the world's first portable electronic brailler, a machine that types in braille. (Braille is an alphabet made up of raised dots that blind people read with their fingertips). It was developed between 1985 and 1989 by an English charity, the Mountbatten Trust, to replace the primitive Perkins brailler, which was designed in America back in the 1930s.

The Trust held an international competition to find a firm to develop their prototype further and to mass produce it. Expertise in both electronics and the creation of products for disabled consumers gave Quantum Technology in Sydney the competitive edge.

Quantum specialises in products for people with disabilities. The company had experience making braille printers for computers and revised the electronics so that the new brailler could talk to computers as well as type in braille electronically.

By 2000 the brailler was being used in 32 countries and sales were increasing.

Who Did It?
Key Organisations
Quantum Technology Pty Ltd : system design
Mountbatten Trust : project funding & management
Key People
Ernest Bate : prototype technical design
Michael Ridley : technical redesign
John Brown : technical redesign

Further Reading
Making it: innovation and success in Australia's industries
R Renew
Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 1993, p 85.

Quantum Technology
Royal Blind Society
Information about Braille Learn braille! Send braille letters!

Related Innovations
Nomad computer interface

The Brailler types braille or prints text through a printer. Powerhouse Museum
Many people use the Brailler to do office work. Powerhouse Museum. Photo Andrew Frolows. Kind permission Royal Blind Society.
The original Perkins brailler. Powerhouse Museum photo, Andrew Frolows. Kind permission Royal Blind Society.
ATSE Powerhouse Museum