Lego's new building blocks to teach kids 'forgotten language'

Toy building blocks catering for a “forgotten language” will soon give millions of children around the world the ability to learn and play like never before.

Lego has been trialling a revolutionary range of Braille bricks which would assist more than 20 million children worldwide who are visually impaired.

The concept was first proposed to the Lego Foundation in 2011 by the Danish Association of the Blind and again in 2017 by the Brazilian-based Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind.

It has since been further shaped in close collaboration among blind associations from Denmark, Brazil, UK, and Norway.

The first prototypes are currently being trialled in those same countries for concept testing.

The new bricks will help blind and visually impaired children learn through play using Lego blocks with braille. Source: LEGO

Philippe Chazal, Treasurer of the European Blind Union, said a rise in children using audio books and playing computer games meant fewer were learning braille.

“We strongly believe Lego Braille Bricks can help boost the level of interest in learning braille,” Mr Chazal told Design Milk.

Just 10 per cent of blind children in the United States were learning to read braille, he said.

Bricks will be moulded with the same number of studs used for individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet, while remaining fully compatible with the Lego System.

Senior Art Director at Lego, Morten Bonde, who suffers from a genetic eye disorder that is gradually turning him blind, worked as an internal consultant on the project.

“Experiencing reactions from both students and teachers to LEGO Braille Bricks has been hugely inspirational and reminded me that the only limitations I will meet in life are those I create in my mind,” Mr Bonde said in a statement to media.

The bricks are moulded with the same number of studs used for individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet. Source: AAP

“The children’s level of engagement and their interest in being independent and included on equal terms in society is so evident.

“I am moved to see the impact this product has on developing blind and visually impaired children’s academic confidence and curiosity already in its infant days.”

The completed braille kit is expected to launch in 2020 and will be distributed to select institutions for free.

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