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The Touch of Genius Prize logo.

with Judges of the Touch of Genius Prize

What is the Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation?

The Touch of Genius Prize was established to recognize an individual or group of individuals who contribute to innovation in the field of tactile literacy for blind people. The Prize can be granted for innovative, accessible computer software, Android applications, iOS applications, or tactile hardware that promotes braille and/or tactile literacy for blind people. The $20,000 prize is provided through support from The Gibney Family Foundation and National Braille Press.

What is tactile literacy?

Braille has been, and remains, the single most significant invention that has led to the literacy of blind people. This prize is focused on literacy through the sense of touch. Tactile literacy implies that individuals who are blind will have greater access to information and learning.

What types of products are the judges looking for when awarding the Prize?

We hope that this Prize fosters new thoughts, new creations, and thinking outside the box that will improve the lives of blind persons. The Prize can be granted for professional software & apps, educational software and apps, gaming software or apps that promote tactile and braille learning, and braille or tactile-related hardware. Read more about previous Touch of Genius winners.

What do you look for when evaluating an application?

Innovation is the central point for the Touch of Genius Prize. For a product to be innovative, it has to be something that is substantially new and/or has a new application. It must be creative, inventive, original and/or pioneering. Viability is also an important aspect when we evaluate applications. Viability refers to the concept that a product is able to work and is worth building. However, applicants whose products and methods are still under development are also good candidates as long as they have a working prototype or accessible video that can demonstrate their concept to the adjudication committee.

Would you like the applicants to know anything else about the Prize?

Before the invention of Braille, no one could conceive of anything that would allow a blind person to access the print world. We are looking for that innovation that has not been thought of yet, that innovates the way we think about tactile literacy, and that has the potential to increase the world of knowledge to the blind through sense of touch.

When is the application deadline?

Completed applications must be received by January 31, 2018 in both print and electronic form. Incomplete applications with not be considered by the adjudication committee. Applications not submitted in accessible formats will be considered incomplete.

Is there a set format for the Outcome Realization document? If not, what should it include?

There is no set format for the Outcome Realization document. In the past, applications that made it into the final round contained the following types of information:

What do you mean by "accessible" format?

Some our Adjudication Committee members are blind or visually impaired and need to access all the material in order to make a decision. Any documents submitted must be in a format supported by a screen reader (i.e., JAWS). Scanned documents are not an accessible format. Any videos must have audio that can stand alone without the need for visual imagery to understand the content. Audio description must be able to convey the same massage as the visual presentation. Pictures must have descriptive captions. You can view an example of an accessible video here.

What are my options for presenting my prototype?

We strongly suggest submitting a prototype with your application as one will be requested if you are selected as a finalist. When submitting your prototype include usage and return instructions if you would like to have your prototype returned to you after adjudication. You can also submit an accessible video presentation demonstrating your prototype or in lieu of a prototype. Demonstration videos should be simple descriptive demonstrations of how the prototype works. Finally, if selected as a finalist you may be contacted to present your prototype to the Adjudication Committee and answer questions on your application.

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