Technology converting complex textbooks into Braille within hours
- Country of Implementation
- United States of America
- Start Year
- First published
“Touch the world and see the unseen.” A visually impaired mother
Sensee, a company based in California, has developed an AI-driven technology that converts text into Braille with high accuracy and speed. Sensee makes educational materials accessible for visually impaired individuals, particularly in science and technology subjects. It transcribes math textbooks, including equations and diagrams, within hours. Between 2020 and 2023, Sensee has converted approximately 1.5 million books into Braille, which then can be used by online Braille readers or be printed.
Traditional Braille transcription, especially for STEM subjects, is time consuming and costly, leading to accessibility challenges for visually impaired students.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Sensee's machine learning technology offers a ground-breaking solution for Braille transcription, especially for complicated textbooks that include more than text, such as for science and math. Unlike the traditional manual processes that can take over a year to transcribe a STEM textbook, Sensee’s technology can achieve this within hours. Moreover, the company has been able to bring down production cost significantly. Sensee´s algorithm is not limited to just text but extends to complex subjects, including mathematic equations and graphs, thus ensuring visually impaired students receive accurate textbooks promptly. Furthermore, the technology allows for the simultaneous formatting of books to accommodate both print and embossed Braille on the same page. Sensee´s publications include such requested materials as Braille books for donations, textbooks and test papers for education, and government newsletter for policy guidance as well as its own original products, which are available in English (50 per cent), Korean (30 per cent), and Spanish (20 per cent). Between 2020 and the first half of 2023 the number of pages produced went from 700,000 to 2 million. Sensee has entered collaborations with the Korean Educational Broadcasting System and the El Salvador Government Printing House.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
As a start-up company, Sensee is based on investments from impact investors and for-profits investors. The vision of Sensee is a global database platform for people to easily access any document from anywhere in the world. In addition, Sensee is planning to establish automated plants so that the visually impaired, teachers/schools, and governments can purchase its products without being financially burdened. (Awardee 2024)