A braille printer, also known as a braille embosser, is an impact device that creates tactile dots on sturdy paper, making written documents accessible to the blind.
Braille embossers are different from braille label makers, which are specifically used to make braille labels which often help a blind person identify various household objects (i.e. two different cans of soup.)
There are several different kinds of braille embossers, ranging from appliances intended for commercial publishing use to smaller devices targeted at individual use. The cost and size can range accordingly. Assistive technology can be a significant investment, and embossers are no exception; they generally range in cost from approximately $1800-$5000.
Given the high cost, several talented individuals have created do-it-yourself versions, including one 13-year-old inventor who crafted a braille embosser from Legos. While the handmade versions are a bit more complicated to construct than they look, there are detailed twelve-step instructions available here and most supplies are available on OpenBraille.
Braille embossers require special braille paper, which is heavier and more costly than regular printer paper. While embossers are relatively easy to use, they can be noisy and the quality of the final product can vary a bit from one device to another.
Looking for the best braille ambossers available on the market? Here are a few options to choose from!
1. VP Columbia
Double-Sided Braille Embosser This embosser produces 120 characters per second, resulting in quality double-sided braille. It is the fastest, most reliable braille printer at the mid-range price point. The VP Columbia also features a tactile graphics software.
2. Romeo Single
Sided Braille Embosser The Romeo is moderate in size and easy to use, even offering sideways and booklet printing styles. The Braille dot height can be easily adjusted, depending on the preference of the user. This device offers one-sided printing only.
3. Braille Buddy
The Braille Buddy is one of the most affordable quality embossers on the market. It produces 25 characters per second and is portable, allowing for flexibility. The Braille Buddy features the Tiger Software Suite and is compatible with several different sturdy paper options.
4. VP EmBraille
VP’s Embraille is compact and lightweight, producing 25 characters per minute and creating single sided embossing. The Embraille produces high-resolution tactile documents and offers multiple dot heights.
5. IRIE BrailleTrac
BrailleTrac is designed to emboss directly from a computer or mobile device, producing 120 characters a minute and offering double sided printing. This device features Power Dot Braille, the strongest, clearest braille dots available on a desktop embosser.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can a braille embosser improve the quality of life for the visually impaired?
A: Braille embossers translate text into braille, allowing visually impaired users to easily print written material into braille. This is an extremely useful piece of assistance technology!
Q: Why are embossers so expensive?
A: Braille embossers are costly due to the underlying technology that they are based on. The technical components needed to emboss braille dots onto paper at a reasonable rate of speed are rather complicated. The high cost is one of the reasons that some people have taken to assembling DIY versions of the device.