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📖 Our Story

From right to left Carolina, Nic and Asher stand against a brick wall holding Canutes

“Braille is ten times the cost of print. Affordable Braille is essential for blind literacy, education and employment, yet Braille use has declined, due in no small part to stagnant technology.

“So as a team we’ve dedicated the last twelve years to creating better Braille technology and breaking down the barriers blind people face. Bristol Braille Technology CIC is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to serving blind communities through the invention and provision of Braille devices. Some of us are engineers, others specialise in supporting accessible products.

“After trialling various single-line prototypes we decided, in 2012, to concentrate all our efforts on multiline refreshable Braille. Making Braille more affordable wasn’t enough. Reading Braille twenty or forty cells at a time is no better than reading print off a ticker tape, or a calculator screen. We began work on the Canute.

“Finally, in 2020, after fourteen prototypes and years of love had gone into the design, both by our team and our community in the Braillists, the Canute 360 launched.”

Ed Rogers, Managing Director

Canute Was Designed Within The Community

“Braille is knowledge and knowledge is power” 

Louis Braille
Steph holds a Canute 360 box
Stephanie Sergeant with our branded box

The Canute was co-designed with our partners in the Braillists Foundation CIO, the National Federation of the Blind and many more. Hundreds of people put in thousands of hours to test and feedback on the designs, break them, shape them and generally make the whole thing work.

In recognition of the role of so many members of the community, we have open-sourced the source code for the Canute 360’s ebook reading software. View the sources on Github and feel free to open an issue to suggest an improvement.

In a pre-pandemic world, we would hold regular public meetings testing, redesigning and explaining Canute’s electro-mechanical design. These were held at local Braillists groups, membership of which is open to everyone with an interest in Braille

Our Team

The current team is a mix of staff and freelancers, doing anywhere from five days a week to a couple of hours a month.

  • Charlie Harding, Distribution Manager
  • David Sykes, Chairman
  • Ed Rogers, Founder & Managing Director
  • Hermione Moore, Purchasing
  • Jonny Taphouse, Hardware Designer
  • Nic Marshall, Production Manager
  • Nick Rogers, Treasurer & Company Secretary
  • Russell Couper, Electronic Engineer
  • Stephanie Sergeant, Support
  • Yanan Yu, Braillist researcher
  • Dave Mielke, programming consultant
  • See previous team members

Designed And Made In The United Kingdom

We are proud that Canute 360, the world’s only commercially available multiline Braille display, is manufactured in the UK.

We design, prototype and assemble Canutes in our workshop in Bedminster, Bristol. 

Get in contact, we’d love to show you around!

Our Backers – Past And Present

For a full list of our backers see the projects page.

Zak standing outdoors in a blue waterproof jacket, eyes squinting against he sun

Zac Wilcox

Thanks, And Dedications

We are devastated to announce the death of Zac Wilcox, our friend and colleague, without whom the Canute project would never have come close to succeeding. Zac died in 2021, aged 40.

We also remember the redoubtable N Krishnaswamy, who was a true inventor at the vanguard of affordable Braille and inspired the Canute project. NK died in 2017.


BRAILLE IS LITERACY,
EMPLOYMENT &
INDEPENDENCE

Dedicated to the memory of Zac Wilcox

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