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LEGO reveals new collection of braille bricks for visually impaired children

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LEGO reveals new collection of braille bricks for visually impaired children
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LEGO has revealed a new collection of bricks being tested across Europe that are geared toward the visually impaired.

A collaboration between the LEGO Foundation and blind associations from Denmark, Brazil, the UK and Norway, LEGO's Braille Bricks will replace the traditional number of studs seen on a LEGO brick with layouts resembling letters and numbers in Braille.

A printed letter or character will also feature on each brick, providing an additional opportunity for sighted children to learn the tactile script.

LEGO Foundation CEO John Goodwin said the new project aimed to reverse the "involuntary isolation" felt by children with visual impairments, who can often find themselves excluded from activities.

"With this project, we are bringing a playful and inclusive approach to learning Braille to children," he added.

LEGO says the new bricks will be compatible with old collections, and are currently being tested in Danish, English, Norwegian and Portuguese.

French, German and Spanish LEGO Braille are due to be tested later this year.

The European Blind Union (EBU) said it was "thrilled" to see Braille learning being incorporated into LEGO's products.

"With thousands of audiobooks and computer programs now available, fewer kids are learning to read Braille,” EBU treasurer Philippe Chazal said.

"This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities."

The UK's Royal National Institute of the Blind and Denmark's Association of the Blind said they were "proud" of the collaboration on the project.

Braille users themselves have also widely expressed their excitement over the new collection.

UK-based English teacher Kirsty M said: "This will be a great way to help blind children develop literacy skills".

LEGO Group's senior art director Morten Bonde, who has an eye disorder that will eventually cause him to go blind, said the project had been "hugely inspirational".

It "reminded me that the only limitations I will meet in life are those I create in my mind," he said.

The new collection is set to be released next year.