Front view of the handheld Annie device. It's the size of a handheld gaming controller and has a white plastic case with red and white buttons. Visible on the top row of Annie are twin braille cells on the left, speakers in the center, and a standard 6-cell braille display on the right. The middle portion of Annie is composed of a standard braille keyboard with large buttons. Below that is a digital braille slate that lets children input braille characters using a stylus. And finally, at the bottom of Annie are three large buttons for left right/right cursor movement and entry.

CSUN 2024: Annie Self-Learning Braille Literacy Device

Allison interviews Thinkerbell Labs CEO and Co-Founder, Sanskriti Dawle, about their braille literacy device that helps children learn how to read, write, and type in braille. The handheld device, called Annie, uses gamified and interactive content to help make learning braille fun. A friendly human voice guides students in their local language, thus making learning more efficient.

Annie is lightweight and easy to handle. It lets children play and learn braille by themselves. The teacher/parent can assign homework and schedule tests for the child to complete at their own pace. Annie has curated content that is suitable for all age groups.

For reading, Annie features twin large braille cells to introduce the child to braille. Six standard-sized braille cells cover all primary learning needs including contractions.

For typing, Annie uses a universal design based on the standard brailler. It has soft keys that are much easier to press than those of a mechanical typewriter.

For writing, Annie uses a first-of-its-kind braille slate that is paper-free. It features a digitized output that gives instant feedback and makes evaluation easy.

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