Lego braille sets will be available to purchase for the first time from September.
The bricks are designed to help children play their way to learning the tactile writing system. Braille is a code based on six dots, arranged in two columns of three dots. There are 63 possible combinations of the six dots which are used to represent the alphabet and numbers.
Originally launched in 2020, Lego started by donating the kits to educational charities and schools that work with visually impaired children.
Now, it has been announced that English and French versions of the sets will go on sale first for £80, with more languages to follow next year. Online pre-orders begin today.
The sets contain 287 bricks in five colours (white, yellow, green, red and blue) which can be used with other Lego products. Stackable blocks will be scored with braille dots as well as printed letters, numbers and math symbols.
The set also includes two baseplates to build on and comes in packaging with braille embossing.
The combination of braille and visible printed characters is designed to help children and family members interact with the bricks on equal terms, encouraging more interactive play.
As part of the accessibility initiative, Lego will also offer select building instructions as audio or text for braille readers. In addition, it will provide live video support for blind and partially sighted people through the free Be My Eyes app.
Lego says it decided to sell the braille sets in response to “overwhelming” global demand.
“We’ve been inundated with thousands of requests to make them more widely available, so we just knew we had to make it happen,” said Rasmus Løgstrup, Lego group lead designer on Lego Braille Bricks.
More than 2 million people are living with sight loss in the UK, according to the NHS, of which around 340,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted.
Many claim that they find it difficult or impossible to read information on services and everyday items, including medical and food packaging and books. Around seven per cent of people who are registered blind or partially sighted use braille, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
Lego, and the World Blind Union, claim the sets will prompt more people to learn braille, including families who play together. Toy giant Mattel released its first set of braille Uno cards in 2019.
The concept behind the bricks was first proposed to the Lego Foundation in 2011 by the Danish Association of the Blind and again in 2017 by the Brazilian-based Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind. Blind associations from Denmark, Brazil, the UK, and Norway helped shape the product.