In this week’s edition of Discovered Technologies, we spotlight Braille NoteTakers.
Braille NoteTakers are classified as assistive technology which allows people who are blind or visually impaired to write, browse the Internet, type in braille, chat, download files, play music, send and receive e-mail, burn music, and read documents. Dedicated braille notetakers are intended to be the equivalent of the PDA (personal data assistant) or perhaps the smart phone (without the phone capabilities). All current models allow the user to read and write files in a number of formats, keep track of contacts and appointments, calculate, listen to media files, handle email, create voice memos, and do limited basic Web browsing. Some offer database creation capabilities, FM radio reception, games, GPS functionality (usually at an additional cost), and access to social networks.
By means of a physical patented device, Braille NoteTakers generally translate virtual letters into dynamic physical braille. Not only do these devices allow blind people to read digital information, they also enable them to write digital information utilizing their specially designed keyboards.
These breakthrough products also allow blind or visually impaired students to complete school assignments like any other student in school. They enable professionals to do their jobs as well as their sighted peers, and also allow teachers to lecture students by means of special hardware and software applications.
Our research indicates that Braille NoteTakers are not one size fits all, selecting the right one ultimately depends on the intention of its use. Affordability also plays a crucial role as prices range from slightly less than $1,000 to nearly $7,500 in some cases. NoteTakers can come with conventional keyboards or a smaller Perkins keyboard. Some are compatible with iPhones and others just with Androids. The file formats with which you work, or intend to study with, should also be considered when determining which device to purchase. Other features and capabilities to consider include: Web navigation, email compatibility and portability.
While Braille NoteTakers are fantastic for people who are able to read Braille, the National Federation of the Blind estimates that only 10 percent of people who are visually impaired are able to read Braille.
In the interest of appreciating the capabilities of a Braille NoteTaker, we present you with a video of the Alva BC640.
For more information regarding which Braille NoteTaker is right for you, feel free to read the