The first Hot Wheels car with braille

"HW Braille Racer - Twin Mill" hanging on a  store peg in Dollar Tree

A braille Hot Wheels car! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it hanging on a peg in the Dollar Tree. Right off the bat, the packaging was unique, with all the braille bumps on the plastic case. All over the car are raised braille dots.

The paint job on this braille car is brilliant. The car is completely white covering the body, tires, windshield, and hubcaps. Just two simple gray stripes along the hood give a little style. After all, if this car is for someone blind, they wouldn’t see the color. There’s something about a white-out car. You notice the forms more. It feels more artistic. It accentuates the braille dots.

Is this the only braille Hot Wheels?

So far, yes. Only the Twin Mill model has braille dots. There is an all-silver variation (as opposed to the all-white, which I got). Someone on Reddit pointed a model that was blue. Perhaps a prototype.

Hot Wheels Twin Mill prototype with braille. The top of the car is light blue. The bottom of the car is royal blue.

What does the braille on the Hot Wheels car say?!

  • Left side of car: “TWIN
  • Right side of car: “MILL
  • Back of car: “68
  • Bottom of car: “HOT WHEELS

The braille on the package says:

  • line 1: HOT WHEELS
  • line 2: TWIN MILL

The translation of braille used is: English (U.S.) Grade 2. The translation is indeed all caps. They didn’t use upper and lower case letters. The braille changes slightly for lower case letters. For someone who reads braille, is this odd to use all caps?

Close of of packaging for the HW Braille Racer. The plastic on the package has raised braille bumps.

Do I take the car out of the package? I really love how the packaging incorporates braille. I’m tempted to leave it in the package. A little ironic, because then I’m not allowing the car to fulfill its mission of being held and touched. Hopefully, I find another HW Braille Racer in the store this summer.

For now, here are photos of the car inside the packaging.

Detail of braille on back of Hot Wheels car. The braille reads "68"
Back of the car reads “68”
Bottom of the HW Braille Racer - Twin Mill
The underside of the car says HOT WHEELS

The back of the card features a diagram that interprets the braille on the sides of the car.

Diagram exlpaining the braille on the left and right sides of the car. One side says "TWIN". The other side says "MILL". This is for the car named "Twin Mill".

The description on the back of the package says:

Our most popular vehicle is back, and this time with Braille! “Twin Mill”, “68”, and “Hot Wheels” are proudly displayed on this iconic speedster, for an inclusive play experience.

Close-up of description text on the package of the HW Braille Racer - Twin Mill

This car was produced in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind. The inclusion of braille on the cars is intended to provide a tactile feature for individuals with visual impairments, allowing them to engage with and enjoy Hot Wheels toys.

Top of the packaging for the "HW Braille Racer - Twin Mill" feature a logo for the National Federation of the Blind

By incorporating braille, Hot Wheels aims to promote play and inclusivity for all children, regardless of their abilities. It sends a message that everyone should have the opportunity to experience and enjoy their products. This initiative not only allows children with visual impairments to explore and play with the cars, but it also raises awareness about the importance of accessibility in toys and encourages inclusion in the larger community.

The addition of braille on Hot Wheels cars is a positive step towards creating a more inclusive and diverse play experience, fostering a sense of belonging for individuals of all abilities.

Why #68 for the braille Hot Wheels?

Top view of HW Braille Racer - Twin Mill.

Does the “68” on the back have some sort of meaning in reference to being a braille car? Googling around, I couldn’t immediately find any connection between the number 68 and being blind.

When I think of numbers and blindness, for some reason my mind goes to the Bible. There are over 50 Bible verses in reference to blindness, maybe one of those verse references has the number 68 in it? Like the chapter number or the verse number?

The Psalms have a verse about being blind: “The LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.” This is from Psalm 146:8. I hoped this verse would be in Psalm 68. (Although Psalm 68 in of itself is a pretty rad Psalm.) None of the other 50 Bible verses about blindness have a 68 in the verse number.

How about if we look at the Bible verses that do have a #68 verse? Several of the Gospels have such a numbered verse.

  • Matthew 26:68 – saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”
  • Mark 14:68 – But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed.
  • John 6:68 – Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

But none of these are directly about being blind. The Matthew verse is preceded by the high priests spitting in Jesus’ face, so presumably, he was temporarily blind? Although, it’s doubtful that Hot Wheels would be referring to this verse.

Why the Hot Wheels braille car has #68—it’s for Helen Keller

How about Hellen Keller? Or the person who invented braille? Maybe they have a birth year or some such year that has a 68.

Louis Braille developed the braille system.
Born: January 4, 1809
Died: January 6, 1852

The Braille system has 63 different dot patterns (not 68)

Helen Keller was an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist, and lecturer. She lost her sight and her hearing after a bout of illness when she was 19 months old.
Born: June 27, 1880
Died: June 1, 1968

Bingo! 1968. There we have the 68 origin. The year Helen Keller died.

Thoughts on other braille phrases to put onto a Hot Wheels car

I love the first step that Hot Wheels took by producing a braille car. However, putting the name of the car on the car seems a bit literal. What if there were something more creative or inspirational?

If you were putting braille on a Hot Wheels car, what would you have it say?

  1. “Speed thrills in every turn!”
  2. “Unleash your racing spirit!”
  3. “Feel the thrill of the track!”
  4. “Imagine the adventure ahead!”
  5. “Dream big, race faster!”
  6. “Ignite your imagination!”
  7. “Vroooom! Let the race begin!”
  8. “Dare to conquer the loops!”
  9. “Inclusivity fuels the fun!”
  10. “Blaze a trail of victory!”

These messages aim to evoke excitement, inspire imagination, promote inclusivity, and celebrate the joy of racing and play.

Perhaps the braille could be a clue for a possible adventure? Here are ten braille messages, serving as clues for a possible adventure on a Hot Wheels car:

  1. “Silver arrow’s path.”
  2. “Hidden key awaits.”
  3. “Golden ramp treasure.”
  4. “Swirling tunnel mystery.”
  5. “Three loop challenge.”
  6. “Dragon’s tail secret.”
  7. “Power flame unlock.”
  8. “Hidden switch revealed.”
  9. “Puzzle, seek finish.”
  10. “Race against time.”

These concise three-word braille messages offer tantalizing hints and challenges, inviting children to engage in an exciting adventure, explore their surroundings, and uncover hidden surprises within their Hot Wheels playset.

How would a vision-impaired child play with Hot Wheels?

I’ve never played with a child who is blind, so I don’t know how a blind child would play with Hot Wheels. My ignorance would assume they couldn’t see the cars zip along the track. I asked Chat GPT, “How would a blind child play with a Hot Wheels car?”

Playing with Hot Wheels cars can be an enjoyable experience for children with visual impairments. While they may not be able to rely on visual cues, they can engage with Hot Wheels cars in various ways that focus on tactile and auditory experiences. Here are some suggestions on how a blind child could play with Hot Wheels cars:

  1. Tactile Exploration: Encourage the child to explore the physical characteristics of the cars through touch. They can feel the shape, texture, and details of the cars, such as the wheels, spoilers, and unique features.
  2. Sensory Tracks: Create tracks and playsets that incorporate different textures, materials, and surfaces. This allows the child to follow the track using their sense of touch and explore changes in elevation or surface transitions.
  3. Sound Effects: Use sound effects to enhance the play experience. For example, add bells or chimes to the cars to create auditory cues as they race down the track. You can also introduce sound-emitting playsets or accessories that produce sounds when cars pass through them.
  4. Racing Challenges: Set up racing challenges with multiple cars to encourage competitive play. The child can listen to the sounds of the cars and track their progress based on the sounds they make, such as the speed or distance covered.
  5. Imaginative Play: Encourage the child to create stories and scenarios around their Hot Wheels cars. They can use their imagination to narrate races, adventures, or even invent their own sound effects to bring their playtime to life.
  6. Collaborative Play: Engage in play with the child, describing the cars, tracks, and race outcomes. This helps create a shared experience and allows them to participate actively in the play session.
  7. Social Interaction: Encourage the child to play with peers, siblings, or friends who can describe their own cars, tracks, and racing experiences, fostering social engagement and cooperative play.

Remember, every child is unique, and their preferences and abilities may vary. It’s essential to adapt the play experience to suit the individual child’s needs and interests, providing opportunities for them to explore, create, and enjoy playing with Hot Wheels cars in their own way.

All seven of these ideas are great! The first one with tactile exploration is an immediate one since we have a Hot Wheels with braille dots. You can imagine a child feeling around the car (and other Hot Wheels cars). Then the next six ideas make for some fun, engaging play. I’ll even start doing some of these for my kids.

Ideas for how Hot Wheels can be made for blind people

Let’s keep GPT going by asking, “What are other ways Hot Wheels could introduce tactile experiences on a car?”

Certainly! Here are ten specific ways that Hot Wheels could introduce tactile experiences on a Hot Wheels car:

  1. Textured Surfaces: Incorporate textured surfaces on different parts of the car, such as a rough or bumpy texture on the hood, a ribbed texture on the roof, or a smooth texture on the doors, allowing children to feel and differentiate between various tactile sensations.
  2. Moving Parts: Design cars with movable parts that can be manipulated by touch, such as doors that open and close, hoods that can be lifted, or spoilers that can be adjusted. This adds an interactive tactile element to the play experience.
  3. Braille Details: Besides incorporating braille messages, add braille symbols or patterns on specific areas of the car, allowing children to explore and identify different tactile patterns with their fingers.
  4. Raised Patterns: Introduce raised patterns or textures on the car’s body, such as lines, dots, or shapes, providing tactile cues that can be felt and recognized by touch.
  5. Removable Accessories: Attach removable accessories to the cars, such as interchangeable spoilers, wings, or fins, which can be detached and reattached using tactile feedback.
  6. Tactile Wheel Designs: Create wheels with unique tactile patterns or textures, allowing children to feel and distinguish between different wheel designs through touch.
  7. Pop-up Features: Design cars with pop-up features that can be activated by pressing or pushing specific parts of the car, providing a satisfying tactile response and surprise element.
  8. Sound Buttons: Incorporate sound buttons on the cars that, when pressed, emit specific vehicle sounds or fun phrases, adding an auditory and tactile element to the play experience.
  9. Tactile Material Combinations: Combine different materials on the car’s body, such as rubber, plastic, or metal, creating contrasting tactile sensations that can be explored and compared.
  10. Tactile Decals: Apply tactile decals with raised designs or patterns onto the car’s exterior, allowing children to feel and explore these tactile elements with their fingers.

By incorporating these tactile features, Hot Wheels can enhance the sensory experience of playing with their cars, providing children with various textures, movements, and interactive elements that engage their sense of touch and enrich their playtime.

Coming up with more ideas on how blind kids can play with Hot Wheels

We’ve heard how vision-impaired people can have other heightened senses. I wanted to see how GPT could connect those abilities with Hot Wheels, so I first asked, “What superpowers do blind people have that normal people don’t have?”

Blind individuals possess unique strengths and abilities that may be different from those of sighted individuals. Here are some remarkable attributes and abilities often associated with blind people:

  1. Heightened Sensory Perception: Blind people often develop heightened senses of hearing, touch, and smell as compensation for the loss of sight. They can discern subtle sounds, textures, and scents that sighted individuals may overlook.
  2. Enhanced Spatial Awareness: Blind individuals can excel in spatial awareness and have a strong sense of their immediate surroundings. They can navigate and memorize complex environments using auditory and tactile cues, such as echoes, sounds, and physical landmarks.
  3. Exceptional Memory Skills: Blind individuals frequently possess remarkable memory skills. They can recall detailed information, such as routes, locations, and spatial layouts, relying on mental mapping and auditory or tactile cues.
  4. Increased Focus and Concentration: Without visual distractions, blind individuals often demonstrate enhanced focus and concentration. They can dedicate their attention fully to specific tasks or conversations, leading to increased productivity and comprehension.
  5. Problem-Solving Abilities: Blind people often develop excellent problem-solving skills. They learn to adapt to various situations, finding innovative ways to overcome challenges and accomplish tasks through alternative methods.
  6. Enhanced Creativity: Blind individuals often possess a rich imagination and creativity. By relying on their senses and inner visualization, they can think outside the box, generate unique ideas, and excel in artistic pursuits such as music, writing, and tactile arts.
  7. Empathy and Perspective: Blind individuals often develop a deep sense of empathy and understanding toward others. Their experiences of navigating the world without sight can cultivate a broader perspective and sensitivity toward diverse perspectives and challenges.

It’s important to note that not all blind individuals possess these abilities to the same extent, as strengths and attributes can vary among individuals. However, the experiences and challenges associated with blindness can foster the development of exceptional skills and perspectives.

Awesome! Now let’s get GPT to connect this with Hot Wheels. “How can a blind person use Hot Wheels cars to showcase these 7 unique strengths and abilities?”

Certainly! Here are some ways a blind person can use Hot Wheels cars to showcase their unique strengths and abilities:

  1. Heightened Sensory Perception: A blind person can use their keen sense of hearing and touch to listen for the sounds of the cars as they race down tracks, detecting subtle differences in speed and identifying specific vehicles by their distinct sounds.
  2. Enhanced Spatial Awareness: Blind individuals can create their own customized tracks and playsets, relying on their spatial awareness skills to design layouts that are challenging and engaging. They can use auditory cues or tactile markers to navigate through the tracks they have built.
  3. Exceptional Memory Skills: Blind individuals can utilize their exceptional memory skills to recall specific details about their Hot Wheels collection. They can remember the characteristics, names, and unique features of each car, making the play experience more immersive and interactive.
  4. Increased Focus and Concentration: Blind individuals can engage in focused play with Hot Wheels cars, dedicating their attention to every aspect of the racing experience. They can concentrate on the tactile feedback of the cars, the sounds they produce, and the tracks they race on, immersing themselves fully in the moment.
  5. Problem-Solving Abilities: Blind individuals can showcase their problem-solving abilities by creating unique track configurations that utilize tactile cues, such as raised surfaces, textured sections, or sound-emitting elements, to navigate the course successfully. They can find innovative solutions to challenges and experiment with different setups to optimize their play experience.
  6. Enhanced Creativity: Blind individuals can showcase their creativity by incorporating tactile art and design elements into their Hot Wheels playsets. They can create custom textures, decorations, or accessories that engage their sense of touch and stimulate their imagination, making their playtime more creative and enjoyable.
  7. Empathy and Perspective: Blind individuals can share their unique perspective and experiences with others during Hot Wheels play sessions. They can foster empathy by describing how they perceive the world through touch and sound, promoting understanding and appreciation for diverse ways of experiencing the world.

By utilizing their strengths and abilities in conjunction with Hot Wheels cars, blind individuals can create a dynamic and engaging play experience that showcases their unique talents and encourages inclusive and meaningful play.

How I relate to blindness and vision impairment

The spatial awareness ability sounds fascinating. When I’m playing Hot Wheels with my kids, we usually set up tracks to see how far certain cars can go. Or we’ll crash cars to see who falls off the track (and stays on). But I love the idea of building a track to engage with a larger space—like a very long curving track that goes around to various rooms in your house.

I have a slight vision impairment. My natural eyesight is a kaleidoscope vision. Therefore, vision impairment has always piqued my interest. In high school, my eye doctor told me I have no depth-of-field vision. (This explains why I had difficulty tracking fly balls up in the sky).

And now, I learn that blind people can have a unique ability to excel in spatial awareness. You’d think the opposite—since they can’t see their space, they wouldn’t be as aware of their environment. But being blind makes one think more about their immediate surroundings. They navigate complex environments by memorizing them. Running a Hot Wheel track through multiple rooms might prove to be really thrilling.

What could be some names for Hot Wheels made for the visually impaired?

  1. “Velocity Touch”
  2. “Braille Blazer”
  3. “TactiRacer”
  4. “Sensory Speedster”
  5. “Feel the Drive”
  6. “TactiTrax”
  7. “Braille Burner”
  8. “Haptic Hauler”
  9. “TactoTurbo”
  10. “Sensei Speed”
  11. “TactoTurbine”
  12. “Sensory Sprinter”
  13. “Braille Bolt”
  14. “Feel the Vroom”
  15. “Tactile Thunder”
  16. “Haptic Hyperdrive”
  17. “TactiTrailblazer”
  18. “TouchSpeed Titan”
  19. “Sensory Supersonic”
  20. “Braille Blitz”

These names aim to capture the essence of the tactile experience and the excitement of racing, while emphasizing the inclusion and accessibility aspects of Braille Hot Wheels cars.

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Robert Hington
Robert Hington
7 months ago

Great article

Janene
Janene
6 months ago

I have 2 of the Braille car, one for my grandson and one for me, I truly love the idea of the Braille hot wheels car and I hope they continue to make more different Braille hot wheels

Dora jacobs
Dora jacobs
6 months ago
Reply to  Janene

I’m legally blind I bought the silver braille Hot Wheels car today for my grandson. Thank you for your support for those who cannot see everything

Patrick Fraser
Patrick Fraser
5 months ago

Just so you know, 68 stands for 1968 when Hot Wheels were first produced.

David Barr
David Barr
3 months ago

I’ve picked up a few of these in white & silver. I do not believe that they are “rare”. I’ve seen several for sale online for crazy prices. I’ve even left several on the pegs in the stores. So, buyer beware!

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