Since their inception, Legos have played a pretty large role in many people's childhoods for obvious reasons, but now the toys are getting an update that could make them even more life-changing for children with special needs. The company is currently testing out new Lego bricks customized with bumps that could help blind and visually impaired children learn Braille.
According to a release, Lego Braille Bricks will be molded with bumps that will correspond with letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet, but they'll still remain compatible with regular Lego pieces. The new bricks were first proposed to the Lego Foundation in 2011 by the Danish Association of the Blind, and they were finally unveiled on April 24 during the Sustainable Brands Conference in Paris.
"Blind and visually impaired children have dreams and aspirations for their future just as sighted children."
"Blind and visually impaired children have dreams and aspirations for their future just as sighted children," John Goodwin, CEO of the Lego Foundation, said in a statement. "They have the same desire and need to explore the world and socialize through play, but often face involuntary isolation as a consequence of exclusion from activities."
Goodwin continued, "With this project, we are bringing a playful and inclusive approach to learning Braille to children. I hope children, parents, caregivers, teachers, and practitioners worldwide will be as excited as we are, and we can't wait to see the positive impact."
At the moment, Lego Braille Bricks are being tested in Danish, Norwegian, English, and Portuguese, with German, Spanish, and French tests coming later in the year. The final product — which will contain 250 Braille bricks covering numbers, math symbols, and the full alphabet — is set to be released in 2020 free of charge to select institutions that assist the blind and visually impaired.