About Canute: the affordable 360 cell Braille e-reader

Technical specifications | Canute demos and tests | Open Sourced | FAQs and How Canute works | Purchase Canute

Canute is the world’s first viable multi-line refreshable Braille e-reader; a ‘Kindle for blind people’. Available for a price comparable to a new iPhone or Perkins Brailler, Canute has been developed by Bristol Braille Technology with, by, and for the blind community.

Canute has been in development since 2012. In March 2018 it will begin its final pre-production testing pilot, prior to beginning sales later in the year. We’d love to give a specific release date, but its important to us to be transparent with our users: we want to hear back from the pilot programme feedback before we give a definitive date, and we don’t want to rush to market, only to deliver a sub-standard machine.

If you would like to register an interest in pre-ordering, once we start to take them, please contact us.

Affordable

Our aim is to distribute Canute as affordably as possible and in the final stages of development, as we now are, we are doing everything we can to keep the material costs, assembly and retail mark-up as low as possible.

The Canute will cost somewhere around the cost of a new iPhone, not far off the price of a Perkins Brailler. That’s around twenty times cheaper per cell than existing digital Braille devices. We cannot give a definite price just yet as development is ongoing, but we’re happy to discuss where the costs come from with you if you contact us.

Unlike any other device available today or under development, the cost of the Canute does not increase in line with the amount of Braille. While other devices can only propose affordability by reducing the amount of Braille on display, the Canute can display information in the proper format, with the proper context, at a cost of around £2–3 per cell of Braille.

Multiline

Canute can store thousands of Braille e-book files in its built-in memory and show them across 360 cells. That’s nine lines of forty cells, creating the first digital Braille display that gives true context to Braille maths, music, tabular data, science books, paragraphs and more.

Canute works with industry standard BRF and PEF formats, which can be generated by Duxbury, RoboBraille and many other software packages.

This will be of particular use to students, who will be able to access textbooks and course materials in Braille, presented in the correct format and context, but the works capable of being displayed by Canute are limited only by the user’s imagination.

Co-operative design

The design of the Canute has been influenced by the feedback of the Braillists Foundation throughout it’s design cycle, and has been demonstrated and tested in five different countries, with hundreds of users, and in a variety of settings.

Canute has been designed from the ground up with repairability in mind, and will be user-serviceable anywhere in the world. The software is Open Sourced and the user can modify or add features to their own Canute.

Fig: Canute Mk12 being demonstrated, with comparison to Braille slate and Kindle. Credit: Vedat Demirdoeven.

Fig: Canute Mk12 being demonstrated, with comparison to Braille slate and Kindle. Credit: Vedat Demirdoeven.

“It’s something phenomenal. I’m already in love with this, and I’m not really a Braille person. I gave up Braille many years ago but this would definitely intrigue me… I’m completely blown away by this.”

Andre Louis

Fig: Canute Mk12 being demonstrated, close up of Braille dots. Credit: Vedat Demirdoeven.

Fig: Canute Mk12 being demonstrated, close up of Braille dots. Credit: Vedat Demirdoeven.

Fig: Canute Mk12 prototype close up on BB logo.

Fig: Canute Mk12 prototype close up on ‘BB’ logo.