On the 16th of July I started my summer apprenticeship at Elia Life and within 4 hours of working I managed to learn a completely new alphabet! Right at the start of the internship Andrew Chepaitis and Monique Alofs, our coordinators, introduced us to their reinvented version of Braille, the Elia alphabet, and talked about the benefits it has over Braille, the current system of writing/reading for people with visual disabilities. Some of these advantages being easier to learn and in the future when they’re finished with the printer, much easier and cheaper to acquire products with the Elia Alphabet. We were also given a rundown of what they expected us to do during our apprenticeship, and that is to create a database for them that has information on potential crowd funders, because they are still a tech. start-up and in order for the product/idea to become an actual product, they need money and grants. We were also tasked with testing out their current printings of the Elia alphabet on a keyboard cover, which was created with a printer that can melt wax and create the grooves and shapes of the Elia alphabet. Oh and awesome news, we get to work with Chromebooks which were bought specifically just for us to create the databases, woohoo!
On our second day of work, we essentially continued with the product testing of their current Elia alphabet printings on keyboard covers, and I began recording and taking measurements of each keyboard that was printed out, with Google Spreadsheet and a Caliper measuring tool. I also helped in creating a legend for Scrabble that would incorporate the Elia alphabet, which would be sent to a mother who has two kids with visual disabilities, and this would be their way of spending time with each other.
So far, it has been a great experience working with the guys at Elia Life, it is a super chill environment, nice and helpful coordinators, and I can’t wait to get back to work next week.