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French Inventors Win Prize For Drawing Pen for the Blind

April 5, 1990

GENEVA (AP) _ A drawing pen for the blind and partially blind won the grand prize today at the annual Geneva Invention Fair.

The two Frenchmen who developed the pen originally intended it to be used as a tool for teaching blind youngsters computer science.

But Jack Sagot, a special education teacher in Paris, and Gerard Pavard, a teacher of handicapped children near the city of Nantes, eventually developed it for general use by the blind in drawing, graphics and the production of documents in the Braille alphabet.

The pen has a special ink that forms a slight relief, or ridge, after drying for a few minutes. The raised patterns can easily be detected by people who touch them, the inventors say.

The drawing paper can be heated to heighten the relief for children just starting to read Braille, Pavard said. Fair organizers claimed the invention is the biggest breakthrough in the field since the 1829 invention of Braille, which uses patterns of embossed dots to signify letters.

An international jury at the weeklong fair chose the pen as top entry among some 1,000 inventions from 25 countries.

It was not immediately clear if the inventors would receive a cash prize.

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