Sidney Smith was a Senior Master at Shawgrove School, Manchester. He looked at ways of improving literacy rates amongst children with limited vision. He developed the Positive Brallier during the late 1970s. Previous braillers had worked by raising dots on the underside of paper, working from right to left. The writer was required to not only work inside out, due to the embossing, but also backwards.
Sidney Smith's development of the Positive Brailler allowed the writer to work from left to right creating the raised dots on the front of the paper. Smith had developed a portable brailler writer that could be used anywhere and thus suitable for the classroom.
Smith was also involved in the later development of the Brailler Iconograph which used a Perkins brailler, modified by having electrical contacts fitted to the keys. The Brailler Iconograph used relays and software, this made it possible for children with limited sight, to create a series of illuminated dots which represented the letters and numbers used in braille clearly.
This early development work eventually led to the development of a synthetic speech system which meant severally blind and blind children had a means of learning to read and write.