braille blocks Toy by Alessandra D'Alessio & Alyssa Vani

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DESIGN DETAILS
DESIGN NAME:
braille blocks

PRIMARY FUNCTION:
Toy

INSPIRATION:
Braille blocks was inspired by the limited range of learning strategies or toys available to blind or visually impaired children. The majority of learning toys on the market for blind or visually impaired children are focused only on making the connection between objects or elements and sounds. This toy focuses on the connection between identifying braille with everyday textures.

UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Braille blocks is a toy that combines the abilities of a sensory board with braille and everyday textures to create a set of sensory blocks for children who are blind or visually impaired. Braille blocks allow blind or visually impaired toddlers to understand what surfaces and textures correspond with certain words.

OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Braille blocks are a set of building blocks for children who are blind or visually impaired. Children can experiment with unique everyday textures, while learning how to describe what they are feeling. Each set of braille blocks comes in a custom wooden box for storage, and a separate removable wood mat for matching. The wood mat has the name of each textured block written in braille and in print with a hole for the block underneath it. Toddlers can remove this mat from the wooden box and match the individual blocks with it, making it multifunctional and storage friendly. These blocks are durable, colourful, stackable and incredibly fun. Braille blocks are exciting and captivating because they are unexpected and comfortable. This toy is better than a traditional baby sensory board and better than traditional building blocks because it combines their basic functions into a block that is designed specifically for children who are blind or visually impaired. Other toys allow children to experiment with tactile learning, however no other toy allows children to match textures with their corresponding meanings and learn how to define them.

PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
Braille blocks began in January 2016 at the Ryerson School of Interior Design and was completed in February 2016 at the Ryerson School of Interior Design.

FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Toy, Games and Hobby Products Design

PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Each braille block was made out of 6 individually laser cut pieces of birch wood. Each block piece was mitered and coated in mineral oil, which is child-safe, and non-toxic. Each block has four sides that are covered with the same texture. Each wooden side was individually glued to a piece of the texture. Once all four pieces of the texture were applied to all four sides of the wooden block, they were attached to the wooden based and the imprinted top.

SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Each braille block is 2 inches x 2 inches x 2 inches The dimensions of the storage box is: 15.5 inches x 8.5 inches x 2.5 inches The dimensions of the removable wood mat is: 15 inches x 8.5 inches x 1/8 inches

TAGS:
a & a: touch, learn, grow Textured blocks with braille descriptions, tactile toys, sensory set

RESEARCH ABSTRACT:
The research for braille blocks began with basic toys for toddlers focusing on their tactile functions and visual learning. From there we began to further research the use and benefits of sensory boards and traditional building blocks that familiarize toddlers with the print word. We decided that tackling the problem of helping blind or visual impaired children experiment with tactile learning without the use of sight was the problem we wanted to further explore. Making a universal toy catering to these individuals that would not only help them learn braille, but also give them an opportunity to excel by introducing them to the textured elements they will face in the future was our main goal.

CHALLENGE:
The most challenging part of this project was learning how to etch braille onto wood, in addition to learning exactly how to space each braille letter properly, according to universal specifications and guidelines.

ADDED DATE:
2016-02-27 03:22:24

TEAM MEMBERS (2) :
Alessandra D'Alessio and Alyssa Vani

IMAGE CREDITS:
Image #No: 1 Photographer: Alyssa Vani/student
Image #No: 2 Photographer: Alyssa Vani/student
Image #No: 3 Photographer: Alyssa Vani/student
Image #No: 4 Photographer: Alyssa Vani/student
Image #No: 4 Photographer: Alyssa Vani/student


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CLIENT/STUDIO/BRAND DETAILS
NAME:
Ryerson School of Interior Design

PROFILE:
Ryerson School of Interior Design was named one of the top three design schools in the world by Azure Magazine, alongside Parsons The New School for Design in New York City & Rhode Island School for Design in Providence.

NOMINATION DETAILS

Braille Blocks Toy by Alessandra D'alessio & Alyssa Vani is a Nominee in Toy, Games and Hobby Products Design Category.

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AWARD DETAILS

Braille Blocks Toy by Alessandra D'alessio & Alyssa Vani is Winner in Toy, Games and Hobby Products Design Category, 2015 - 2016.



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