Envisioning Technologies: Panel 4 Accessible Text


Roland Galarneau and the Converto Braille, 1960-1989

Main text

Roland Galarneau was a largely self-trained machinist and engineer born in Hull, Quebec in 1922 with two percent vision. In 1952, he built a powerful microscope, which he called a “roloscope” that enabled him to read printed material, including an array of literature on electronics. Through private study, he was eventually struck with an idea to develop a machine that would automatically transcribe written texts into Braille. This idea materialized in 1972 when he built the first “Converto-Braille”, to be followed by subsequent models that acted as a terminal, capable of converting printed material into braille. In 1982, a California-based company Telesensory System Inc., purchased the rights from Galarneau and began distributing the printer globally in 1986 as the Versapoint Printer.

Image description: Image of Roland Galarneau (c.1970) embedded within the text, working on electrical circuits. On the other side of the text are the 1972 and 1982 models of the Converto-Braille.


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