A group of Tauranga Girls' College students have come up with an idea that could help dyslexic students – and save them hundreds of dollars.
The Year 13 girls have formed a company for this year's Young Enterprise Scheme called Brite and are preparing to launch their product, the iBrite.
It's a little LED device that sits at the top of a student's page of work, shining coloured light over the text. The idea is that the different lighting helps those with dyslexia process words better.
Brite communications director Abbey Herbison says at the moment, dyslexic students really only have two options: special glasses or coloured overlays.
“The glasses are like normal reading glasses, but with a coloured lens that help relax the neurons in the brain. But these cost around $800,” says Abbey. “Many kids can also feel uncomfortable wearing them, because it emphasises their disability.”
The coloured overlays are much cheaper – around $15 – but Abbey says they're impractical because students can't write on them.
The iBrite costs around $40, making it much cheaper than the reading glasses, but also less intrusive. It also allows students to write on the page.
The product has already impressed judges at local entrepreneurial competitions, winning both the recent regional MashUp and Dragon's Den competitions.
The team are now hoping to launch the product in July, and even have a working prototype that's been receiving positive reviews.
“It's battery-powered at the moment, but for our final product we would like it to be USB-chargeable,” says Abbey.
“We've had a few dyslexic students try it and they all found it really effective.”