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Slate and Stylus

The slate and stylus are lightweight, inexpensive, do not need batteries or electricity to operate, and fit easily in a pocket, purse, or briefcase. People who are blind use a slate and stylus in much the same way sighted people use a pad of paper and a pencil.

A slate is made of two plastic or metal parts hinged together so that a piece of paper can be put between them. The top part of the slate has rows of window-like openings. Each window is the same size as a braille cell. The bottom part of the slate has shallow depressions arranged in groups of six to represent the dots of a braille cell. Each group of depressions is directly under one of the windows in the top part of the slate.

A stylus is a pointed tool used to punch raised dots in the paper. Using the window-like openings in the slate as a guide, the writer presses the point of the stylus against the paper and into one of the depressions, thus punching a raised dot into the paper.