Blissymbolics Advances in Technology

Note: This page is very outdated and will be replaced. (It might possibly be of some historical interest for some of us). While waiting for the updated version of this page, please see this PDF about Access to Blissymbolics in ICT (3 MB)  and Interesting Places 

Advances in Technology

Bliss has renewed its mission in the area of technology.. It is now committed to undertaking projects with the following objectives:

    1. Ensuring that the most up-to-date, easy to use technological tools for creating symbol boards and using symbols are available for Blissymbolics,
    2. Ensuring that no Bliss user will have to abandon the language of Blissymbolics that he or she has learned and be required to learn a new symbol system just because Bliss is not available on his or her communication device of choice,
    3. Ensuring that Blissymbolics is not rejected from consideration as a language system for an appropriate user just because there is not sufficient technological support to work with the Bliss system easily.


I. Tools for creating manual Bliss boards:

There is now a choice of five programs for PCs in different languages and one program for MACs that can be used for simplifying the creation of manual Blissboards.

  1. Boardmaker (American): We are in the final stages of completing a library of Blissymbols that can be used for creating Blissboards in English.
  2. Bliss for Windows (Dutch): The Document Maker component of Bliss for Windows can be used for creating manual Blissboards in Dutch, English and many other languages. This capability is also part of the new Symbols for Windows by the same manufacturer - Handicom.
  3. WinBliss (Swedish): This program can be used for creating manual Bliss boards in Swedish or English.
  4. Mind Express (Belgian) can be used for making manual Blissboards in French or English
  5. Bliss2: This program can be used for creating manual Blissboards in French
  6. AccessBliss: This program can be used for creating manual Blissboards in English using a Macintosh computer.

II. Tools for creating on-screen Bliss displays and scanning access protocols

With the addition of a voice output capability, these following programs can be used as general purpose communication aids.

There are three programs that can be used to create on-screen Blissboards and scanning access protocols. All of these programs also have optional voice output capability and hence can be used as VOCAs

  1. WinBliss

  2. Bliss for Windows with Clicker

  3. Mind Express

III Dedicated communication aids

There are two dedicated communication aids for which Blissymbol dictionaries are available:

  1. The DynavoxCurrently there is a beta version of Blissymbols for the Dynavox. It has the full set of capabilities except that it cannot have more than one user sharing the device and the word prediction and vocabulary searches will not display Blissymbols. These limitations are not critical to most single users of the device. They will be rectified in the next release of the system.
  2. BMW on the LiberatorThis software allows advanced users of Blissymbols to take advantage of their first language, Blissymbolics, along with Minspeak and Words Strategy.

V. Bliss in the Internet age

We are developing tools and various kinds of internet based supports for those who wish the use Blissymbolics. This includes providing a central internet location where Bliss users and those associated with Bliss users are able obtain relevant information about Blissymbolics as well as be able to communicate with one another via the internet.

  1. Publishing Blissymbols on the internet: We are developing a standard "authorized" set of Blissymbols in some of the popular internet graphic formats (i.e. 'gif', 'jpeg', & bmp) for internet publication. Through an arrangement with BCI that will include monitoring of the "publication", the symbols will be made available to those who wish to publish materials containing Blissymbols on the internet, in software or in printed documents. The intention is to provide a convenient, economical and quick way for developers to obtain a correctly drawn Blissymbol. These can be distributed electronically.

  2. Bliss users communicating with one another on the internet: We have developed an easy to use e-mail program - BlissInternet ? that anyone (who has the software) can use to send and receive Blissymbols over e-mail. The development of this program has lead to collaborative work with other developers (e.g. Bliss/{Symbols} for Windows by Handicom, WinBliss by Foreningen, Furuboda,). who are working on programs to support Blissymbol communication over the internet. These programs are currently under Beta test with field trials involving adult Bliss users in Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and Canada (Baird, 2001).

  3. The Bliss cybercommunity: One fundamental component of our renewed mission is to establish a multi-facetted internet presence to support the dissemination of information in a wide range of areas that are relevant to Bliss users. A basic site has already been set up and is operating. The plan is to undertake projects to expand it to include the following activities:
      1. Support for direct communication among Bliss users, their care givers, friends etc. via electronic forums and e-mail. The internet programs mentioned above will be used to support this activity.

      2. Parents want to know: There will be a "frequently asked questions" section of the website designed specially for parents.

  4. Bliss cybercollege: There is a great need for information and training in AAC in general and in the appropriate use of Blissymbolics in particular. The internet is an ideal medium for providing such information and training instructors quite economically over wide geographic regions. We intend to exploit this medium in series of educational activities. In addition, there will be courses for training Presenters who are certified to give Blissymbolic workshops and teach Blissymbolics to other instructors as well as course for training Monitors who can proofread and edit publications, websites and software certifying that the symbols contained in that material are correctly drawn and that the information presented about the symbols is accurate

V A Library of the writings of Bliss users.

Many users of Bliss enjoy writing and have a great deal to tell us about their experiences and views of the world. These writings are currently being assembled and published on the internet site. Apart from providing an important platform for the Bliss users themselves to speak out, they are of interest to many others - parents, other Bliss users, clinicians, etc. Although we are starting with the writings of people in Ontario, we hope eventually to have writings from Bliss users from all over the world so that we can set up sections for each country.

VI Current research projects

We have always been committed to research and development to provide needed information and communication tools related to the use of Blissymbols. This commitment continues. For example, a very recent relevant project that we have undertaken involves investigating employment opportunities for Bliss users in the AAC field.
Employment opportunities for non-speaking individuals
The Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy has funded a pilot project to assess what is required (feasibility of) for non-speaking individuals to be able to create Blissboards (either manual or on-screen) for other Bliss users. The project was begun in the summer of 2001 and is ongoing. 

Additional information