I’m Done with Braille Notetakers

I have used a Braillenote since I got my Classic in 2002. It was the first-generation motherboard, the one with no Compactflash card slot; it needed a hardware update just so it could receive email, and it came with Keysoft 3.06 on Windows CE 2.12. I even remember its serial number, all these years later: 12494.

Fast forward twelve years. Humanware has released the BrailleNote mPower, PK, and Apex, and we are now on Keysoft 9.4.1, running under Windows CE 6. A major competitor has come on the scene: Hims, with its own line of notetakers called the Braille Sense. Other companies like APH have introduced notetakers as well. If you’ve followed me at all in the last few years, you’ll know that I find Humanware’s lack of timely updates and bug fixes to be frustrating and disheartening, while Hims continues to deliver exciting updates and provide, if anecdotal evidence can be believed, better support for customers. So, am I announcing my switch to a Braille Sense?

Nope, I’m announcing that I’m done with braille notetakers altogether, no matter who makes them. While this is a personal decision and is not right for everyone, I’ve come to the conclusion that my iPhone is a more-than-adequate replacement for my Apex, especially when supplemented by my Macbook Air. Therefore, since I never use it, I’m returning my Apex to the state agency that purchased in four years ago, and I’ve resigned as moderator of, and unsubscribed from, the BrailleNote email list (yes, that list is still around, and pretty active). I’m now a member of the VIphone and Macvisionaries email lists, and the Editorial Team for
AppleVis.com.
Why the change? Glad you asked!

The simple fact is this: the BrailleNote and Braille Sense are both based on Windows CE. Specifically, CE6 , released in 2006, which will
lose support in 2018.
Microsoft seems to have switched focus to variants of Windows 8, and so far, neither of the notetaker giants has jumped on board with any adapted version of that system. No matter their home-grown features, the fact remains that both are relying on outdated technology to drive them, and they are bumping into limitations there.

Hardware is another concern. It costs a lot to develop, prototype, test, refine, and eventually release any computer system, especially a highly customized one like notetakers use. Still, it took until the release of the Braille Sense U2 for any notetaker to finally boast a 1GhZ processor (the Apex still uses a 520MhZ chip), and neither device has more than 256MB of ram. They both use bluetooth 2.1, type G wifi, and VGA output. Granted, the U2 has more modern internals, such as its gyroscope, vibration motor, and GPS receiver, but the fact is that any $100 Android tablet will almost certainly have more capable hardware than a braille notetaker costing upwards of $5,000.

And here we come to the crux of the problem: user-facing software. No matter what hardware you have, no matter what underlying platform you use, no matter how you dress it up, at the end of the day the consumer is going to care about one thing: what can the device do, and how well can it do it for me? When you look at just the two major braille notetakers, you limit the decision considerably. Nowadays, it is important to take mainstream devices like iOS and Android into account at the same time, especially given the braille support both include. These days, I’m using my iPhone and a Macbook Air for everything, and I don’t miss my Apex in the slightest. Here are just some of the reasons:

  1. Size: the Apex, even with no display, is a large device. It has to be, to fit its ergonomic keyboard and other components. By contrast, my iPhone fits in a pocket or on my belt, and I barely know it’s there.
  2. Notifications: the Apex cannot do anything when it is off, so when, say, a message comes in, nothing happens. My iPhone lets me know when I get a message, or when it is my turn in a game, or when an important email arrives, or a new podcast has downloaded, or I need to do something… You get the idea. It is always with me, but can operate while locked, letting it deliver notifications at any time. The Apex can only manage this trick through the use of an alarm, whose sound cannot be changed, and which only works through the planner.
  3. Apps: the Apex lacks many things, and vital parts of what it can do are limited or buggy (such as the email client). The iPhone has no such problems, and bugs are fixed by Apple instead of being ignored for years. Additionally, I can download many of the same apps that sighted people use, and so benefit from a larger user base, timely updates, and all the other advantages of using mainstream software. Apps exist for nearly any purpose, giving my iPhone an almost unlimited range of uses.
  4. Updates: you can count on Apple to release a major update once a year, and several smaller ones subsequent to that big one. These updates include new features, bug fixes, and new opportunities for developers to improve their apps. This year, iOS8 will offer, among other things, third-party keyboards, direct braille input on the touch screen, tighter integration with iCloud and Mac computers, and many more features. Meanwhile, Humanware might release an update once a year, and it will usually have one or two features. The last couple Keysoft updates have focused on the web browser, which does seem to work better, kind of, if you ignore the fact that it’s basically Internet Explorer 6. Humanware has also let users read .pptx (but not .ppt) files, and .docx files. I should mention that Word 2007 support was promised in 2010, and not delivered to Keysoft until 2013, even though Humanware’s digital book player had the capability in 2011. The email client still can’t handle IMAP, and still tends to corrupt its own database; the chat program is still text only and lacks basic shortcuts and features (like account switching); you still can’t trust any kind of advanced formatting to stay in place in word processor documents; the daisy book player has been slow and crash-prone since its release, and has yet to be improved; the Eloquence speech synthesizer still has problems with choppiness and stability; I could go on, but you get the point.
  5. Price: $650 is the starting price for the iPhone5S, and $499 will get you the latest iPad. If you go for an iPad Mini, iPod Touch, or older iOS device, the prices are even less. Meanwhile, an
    Apex with no braille display is $1995.
    and prices rise from there if you need braille output.
  6. Cloud integration: my iPhone talks to my Mac all the time, and the Mac talks back. If I make a new calendar event on the Mac, my iPhone knows about it. If I use Siri to add an item to my shopping list on the iPhone, that item appears on my Mac’s copy of the shopping list. A great deal of information syncs between the two devices, and any other iOS or OS X device I care to sign into. More than that, though, I can sync calendar events, reminder lists, photos, and other content with other people. For instance, my family all shares a shopping list, so any one of us can add to it or check things off, and we all see the changes as they happen. We also share a Home Appointments calendar, for things like lawn care, internet or phone service appointments, and so on; if any of us schedules something that requires someone to come to the house, we all know about it and can check the event’s details at any time. For files, I can write in a file in Dropbox on the Mac, then view or edit it on iOS, and the changes sync. I can make a Pages document and invite others to share it, letting a group of people work on one file. On the Apex, I can email files around… and that’s about it. If I want to sync my contacts and calendars, I need to be running Outlook on Windows, and Outlook has never been very easy to use, especially with NVDA. Even then, I have to sync manually, whereas all this data sharing happens automatically and wirelessly on iOS. Additionally, the BrailleNote offers no syncing support for the Mac, or even other Windows applications. Yes, it can use Windows Mobile Device Manager, if you can get it working, but again, there’s nothing automatic or convenient about that solution. It’s 2014, Humanware.

So why not get a Braille Sense? So far I’ve only compared iOS to the Apex, yet Hims offers many more apps: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Youtube, Bookshare, Google Maps, Excel viewing, an SDK, voice chatting, and so on. While it is true that Hims gives their customers more bang for their buck, and is better at updating their products, the fact still remains that all this is based on Windows CE 6.0 and is still, essentially, closed. Twice now, the Braille Sense’s support for Dropbox has suddenly stopped working, necessitating a software patch, and those are just the times that I (not a user of the product) know about. If some app on iOS stops working, I can just find another one, but I’ve never yet had an app fail on me due to a change in a remote service. Again, apps on iOS are most often mainstream, so there is a much larger user base behind them pressuring the developer to keep things running smoothly.

In addition, even if a Sense can do what I want, it is still big, heavy, expensive, not updated as much, and overall not as convenient. For all its better-thana-BrailleNote features, it still can’t sync all my data or let me choose which app I want to use for a given task. If I don’t like the way Twitter works on the Sense, my only option is to hope Hims changes things; on iOS, I can just grab a different Twitter app and see if I like it more.

As you can see from the comments, and from Twitter mentions I’ve gotten since this post went live, braille is the main sticking point. While that is certainly a valid concern, I am not a heavy braille user, so it does not affect me. Braille is great for silently reading, or reading where it is too noisy to hear speech, but I find I’m faster at typing on a qwerty keyboard than on a braille one these days. I never read braille books, because I like to read books as I do other things and so use synthesized speech, and I don’t find braille to be helpful in other activities like coding or proofreading. Again, this is my particular situation, and I’m not saying that a notetaker will never find a use for anyone ever again. If you read a lot of BRF files, a notetaker, or something like the Braille Edge, Perkins Mini, or upcoming Vario display may be a good fit for you. These three displays all have basic notetaking functionality built in which can act independently of a connected computer. If you want reliable braille input without the hassle of thinking about odd translations or delays, a notetaker might work better, assuming you can live without the advantages of a mainstream device. Even there, though, it is worth considering that some displays let you type in native braille, then send what you wrote all at once, eliminating the frustrations of braille input on iOS.

Again, I realize this is a highly subjective topic. I also realize that there are different notetakers of different sizes, and that iOS devices are not perfect. Overall, though, I’m done with the slow updates, persistent bugs, large sizes, and restricted nature of braille notetakers. I’m firmly entrenched in the Apple ecosystem and the mainstream market, and I find it a far more freeing and convenient place to live my digital life. It feels odd, yet liberating, to finally close the door on notetakers; they have been part of me for many years, but I’m excited to finally leave them behind completely. For some time now, I’ve held onto the Apex simply out of habit, never actually using it but telling myself I might one day, if Humanware ever made it worth it. I doubt Humanware ever will, though, and even if they did add some more features or fix problems, I see no reason to ever go back. So, good-bye Apex, and good-bye, world of braille notetakers. Hello, mainstream accessible devices… Hello, convenience, solid support and updates, myriad apps… Hello, future.

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31 Responses to “I’m Done with Braille Notetakers”

  1. Amanda Says:

    What about braille output?

  2. Jason Bratcher Says:

    Quite the eye opener, Mister.

  3. Megan Hudgins Says:

    This actually does make sense. And if someone does want braille output with an IOS or Android device, there are lots of portable braille displays that are cheaper than a full notetaker.

  4. Mabelin Says:

    Interesting. Please contact me because I am considering giving up the braille note takers thing. I now realize IOS and macOSX are better than any note taker, besides notetakers are so expensive.

  5. Rick Roderick Says:

    I think there two advantages to notetakers. Battery life is longer, and the devices are integrated into one piece, not a phone and a braille display. My primary reson for having one is to read BRF files, though I would like some of the benefits that mainstream technology offers.

  6. Becky Sherman Says:

    I’ve been looking at the braille displays and wondering, since I have a computer and iPhone, if I need an Apex. I haven’t looked at other notetakers because I’m tired of learning new command structures. I read a lot of braille books, so what’s the best braille display?

  7. mehgcap Says:

    The Hims Braille Edge is a 40-cell display that has support for some basic notetaking tasks. It can open BRF, Word, text, and other formats; has a calculator and planner; and so on. It isn’t a full notetaker, and has no speech, but neither is it just a display that requires another computer to do anything. Best of all, it is two thousand dollars less than a 32-cell Apex.

  8. Megan Hudgins Says:

    I was looking at braille displays the other day and saw one made by Baum USA. Can’t remember what it was called. But it had the basic notetaking functions of the Braille Edge but it also has four bluetooth channels plus the option to connect via USB. I thought it looked sweet!

  9. Kylee Says:

    I have an iPhone and macBook Air, but I miss the reading capability of my BrailleNote. I use the above with the Focus 14 Blue and I have an old Focus 40 Classic on my Windows box, but I find that the performance of braille displays leaves something to be desired by comparison with the old note-taker. Apart from the fact that the Classic keeps stopping every time it hits a new page, and that text keeps being underlined despite my best efforts and adjusting settings like highlighting, I’m working with two separate devices that I have to keep track of. The BN reads braille like a dream and doesn’t latch up at all. I’d use my mainstream products for productivity, but if I want to read, I still need the reliability of a note taker, because the display and Apple’s less than desirable braille support doesn’t cut it.

  10. Amanda Heal Says:

    That would be the Vario Ultra, due to be released in the US in mid august and later in Australia where I live. I want one now!!!

    Regards Amanda Heal Sent from my iPhone

    >

  11. Amanda Heal Says:

    I’m trying out a couple of displays at the moment. I am having difficulty as if I pause midway through entering a word or number on the display, the remaining numbers or letters are interpreted incorrectly. This is despite turning automatic translation off in VoiceOver. I have also noticed a delay in the displays when using Bluetooth.

    Regards Amanda Heal Sent from my iPhone

    >

  12. Megan Hudgins Says:

    OH YES! The Vario Ultra! I thought it sounded beautiful! Expensive, yes. But for all it does…

  13. Alex Says:

    Excellent post. This pretty much mirrors my feelings on Braille notetakers entirely, except the Braille thing. I’m totally fine with a few translation differences between Apple [products and a $6000 device running, as you said, WinCE. I just don’t see the point of having one anymore, sold my PAC Mate in 2010 and used iOS for mobile note taking. Apple’s Braille display support needs a bit of work; for instance the display suddenly blanking out and the inability to drive the iOS device. The solution is simple, just lock and unlock your device, cycle display power and you’re good to go. For me as a very heavy Braille input and output user, if they can resolve these little problems, I’d be set. Apple again is a mainstream company, and the fact they have as detailed Braille support as they do is heartening and encouraging for what the future holds. From time to time I do miss the PAC Mate, but more a kind of old rustic missing. Nothing I’d go back to using a notetaker for, anyway. Sorry for the rambling comment. 😀

  14. Angie M Says:

    I bought a Perkins Mini about 6 months ago and love it. It can sometimes be a bit slow with bluetooth, and I recognize this could be a dealbreaker for some. But I can read .brf files and take notes on it without connecting to my phone, and it fits in my purse. I use it all the time for meetings, conferences and presentations at work. I put my shopping list on it, and personal data I don’t want on an internet-connected device. I might have gotten the Vario Ultra had it been out at the time, but as it would have cost $850 more (talking about the 20-cell version), i’m not sure what I would have done. Basically, between my iPhone and Perkins Mini, which are sometimes but not always connected, I have the best of all worlds.

  15. jan brown Says:

    I have owned note takers since the first Braille’nspeak came out. I even had a Versabraille for work.
    Now, I have an old braillenote which I only use to take messages, store things and write poetry.
    I have but haven’t used my Perkins Mini. I am a heavy MBraille user both with the phone and i-Pad. I find I enjoy writing in braille more than reading it. I love reading braille computer books so I don’t have to get out of one program just to read.
    Braille displays are not a single device but must be paired to the gadget being used for writing.
    There are so many of us with different needs, skills and interests that no single solution will fit all of us. I’m an apple and MBraille fan. If not for MBraille, I just might have an apex.

  16. Flor Lynch Says:

    Braille note-takers are different from iOS-connected devices. Apples (pun partly intended) are different from oranges. One could argue, and I would, that a comparison between the two is not really valid or fair. I use a Focus14 Blue with my iPhone and also have a toshiba laptop and an old desktop computer with a focus40 Blue. I even have an mPower…

  17. Dave Taylor (@davetaylor2112) Says:

    I switched my PAC Mate for a Braille Sense U2 QWERTY last year, as well as having a Brailliant 40 I can use with my iPhone or Macbook Air. The key reason for still having a notetaker, for me, is that no GPS app yet offers virtual exploration, a feature I find unbelievably liberating. Hims products are, in addition to what else has been said, considerably smaller and lighter than their Humanware counterparts. Even though limited in functionality, I find the first version of the Facebook client very useful, and it shows me a different selection of things than other apps, though I do mainly use MenuTab Pro on my Mac. I think if I had Windows only, I would find the quick start up and convenience of a notetaker more appealing, but my Macbook Air offers all that and so much more. I have been involved in braille coding work in the past, and if I should do that again, I think my Braille Sense will be incredibly useful, but for most, everyday things, I too have moved away from notetakers in the main

  18. Sue Says:

    I like what you said about note takers pretty pricy and outdated. I remember my first one was the braille and speak 640 then in 2003 got the braille and speak 2000 which I still have I use that once in a while, even though it is a basic word processor and no internet access it meets my needs in that way. Then back in 2008 I bought the braille plus, which was nice, but one draw back was that flimzy cable, kind of heavy, cause whenever you took it out of the unit you could tell when It was going to break, two years later, the cable broke then was time to get rid of that note taker I did. For me have allways stayed with in the 1400 dollar range. I do have two windows PCS, and a pack mate braille display, am thinking about getting eeither a braille pen 12 braille display or the braille pen slim it is the braille keyboard which I can use with my ipod touch, since the braille im put is something I could use, and with the braille pen 12 it has 12 cells for braille output sounds easy to use with either the pc or with my I-device. I have not decided as what I should get. I have all ways been a braille user, still use it daily, the bottom line for me is the pricing. So if anything maybe look for a braille display that will work with the pc, and or I-device, or if you just want to get a display for the desktop, the choice is up to you. So just thought I would put my thoughts out on the web. Hope everyone has a nice day.

  19. Dave Ransley Says:

    Oh how I grinned when Apple introduced VoiceOver, it was a game changer for me. I have lived without a Braille display for 3 years, depending entirely on my iPhone. I did buy a RefreshaBraille 18 but hated the placement of the USB port and so I sold it at a substantial loss. I do miss reading Braille and editing documents is so much easier using a refreshable display. After a lot of research, I have plumbed for a VarioUltra 20. Compact, light and using software with a decidedly modern design: check boxes, edit fields and dialog boxes plus the ability to jump from onboard application to application with one command is very impressive. The command set is very rich and it provides short-cuts to access everything you could imagine. Teamed with my iPhone 6 and my Mac Mini via the multiple bluetooth channels, it should suit my needs. I can’t wait for VarioUltra to arrive.

  20. Krishan Says:

    Ios 8 has screwed up voiceover significantly. The notetaker remains far more stabile in comparison. Don’t throw your notetakers away yet.

  21. Krishan Says:

    Investing totally in ios could be our biggest folly.

  22. mehgcap Says:

    No one ever said updating to the latest iOS release immediately is going to end well. When the screen reader becomes a core component in the operating system, it will suffer from short- and long-term bugs like any other component. As I said in my post, iOS devices are not for everyone, and you should evaluate your needs against the strengths and weaknesses of both before deciding.

    As to iOS8, it started out with some serious and frustrating VoiceOver bugs (hence my comment to not update immediately). Most of those have now been fixed, however.

  23. Krishan Says:

    I beg to differ.

    Ios 8, ios8.1,ios 8.1.2 still have serious issues regarding voiceover.

    Voiceover has had an ongoing webpage focus stability issue since 2010. It is yet to be resolved.

    Unless Apple diverted more resources toward improving voiceover stability other than continuous mainstream priority then yes, we could abandon our notetakers.

  24. Donald Brown Says:

    It is agreeable that notetakers are quite expensive devices especially with the many features that they contain matched up with today’s off the shelf products. However, there is still room for these devices in our world today.

    First of all, it would have been nice if they could have created a very basic notetaking device without all of the fancy bells and whistles. After all, that’s why they’re called notetakers? If someone could develop a single product that all it did was allow for you to create notes and nothing else, then the price would be significantly lower. It seams that everytime a device is created, the companies who make the devices turn them into the jack of all trades types of devices similar to what Kindle did with their e-book reader.

    When the Kindle first came out, all you could do was read on it, Now it is just yet another tablet computer like all the rest with reading being one of the least noted features on the device.

    The same thing can be said about notetakers. More emphasis is put on calendars, clocks, scheduling, appointments, stopwatches and GPS, while notetaking is just a forgotton part of the device even though it is still called a notetaker.

    A simple notetaker that just allows for you to type and read text would be a really cool thing to have, and if it used something like Microsoft Word, or even something similar to word pad like Windows has, then it would be the perfect notetaking device. You could use your smart phone for timers, clocks, calendars and such without ahving to pay well over a thousand dollars for something that is pretty similar to your smart phone.

    I want a plain, ordinary notetaker, not a glorified calendar, stopwatch and planner with built-in GPS. I am a writer and writing is all that I want to do with a notetaker, so they need to create just a basic, easy to use notetaker without all of that fancy junk on it.

    Then the price would be much lower and people could really afford a notetaker. The big companies like Freedom Scientific, Humanware and Hims could develop such a basic notetaker and sell it for just a few hundred dollars instead of the thousands that their current notetakers sell for. A matter of fact, if they were to develop just a bare bones notetaker, I bet that it would sell quite well especially for those who don’t want all those other features.

    There are some really great writers out there who don’t want to lug around a laptop machine, but they want something that is a bit more portable and a bare bones notetaker would fit the bill nicely. And without all of the other features that they wouldn’t use means that the price would be knocked down quite considerably too.

    So maybe some of you techies out there who have the knowhow to create such a bare bones notetaker could create one and present it to the big companies listed above and maybe have it developed and sold for much lower prices than the current devices are selling for. Who knows, there might be a market for a bare bones notetaker. I personally believe that there is such a market.

  25. mehgcap Says:

    The vast majority of the price doesn’t come from software, though, it comes from the electronic braille. Even a 12-cell display costs about $1000, and the prices go up from there. Companies are working on lower-priced displays, but they aren’t there yet.

    A device like you suggest already exists. The Braille Edge, Perkins Mini, and a few others are braille displays that support writing braille with no phone or computer connected. You can also read brf, doc, and other formats, again, no second device necessary. As these are still refreshable braille displays, though, they cost thousands. The price is a consequence of the braille technology, not the software running on top of said technology. Here’s hoping someone has a breakthrough soon that dramatically lowers the prices.

  26. Mike Says:

    For me braille is still definitely the main reason to keep using notetakers but there are a few others that haven’t been brought up here. One regarding IOS is that you get one TTS engine. That’s it. It lets you switch between male and female and only allows you to make the speech a tiny bit faster. In other words some sighted programmer decided that nobody could understand speech faster than he could so he ignorantly set limits for us. One other thing is that for a user who depends entirely on touch, using a touch screen significantly slows down operations. You must listen to make sure you’re in the right place; there’s no speedy whipping out of hot keys, unless of course you carry around a separate Bluetooth keyboard, but then you might as well have the separate device be a braille display.

    I find text editing on touchscreen devices monumentally frustrating. Cursors never seem to go where you would expect them to go. Especially if you’ve already entered text and want to insert somewhere in the middle. Of course, this is different with separate keyboards, but not much better.

    The issue of having mainstream apps is not enough to hold me either because most of them are entirely inaccessible or you have to jump through ridiculous hoops to get them to work that it’s not worth it when you could just use the utilities that come on a notetaker and be sure they will work. Personally I have gone from notetakers to mainstream devices with separate braille displays and now have gone back to the notetakers because they are so much more efficient for me.

  27. mehgcap Says:

    Speech rate is indeed frustrating at times, and is something about which I’ve recently emailed Apple. Choice of synthesizers, though, is the same as the BrailleNote: KeySoft includes Eloquence or Keynote Gold, iOS includes Nuance or Alex.

    I take issue with the point that “most apps” are inaccessible or require tons of work. Facebook, Rooms, FB Messenger, Mail, Calendar, plenty of games, navigation apps, Pocket, Instapaper, Overcast, Downcast, BossJock, Red Laser, Workflow, WordPress, Skype, Twitterrific, Twitter, and so many more are perfectly usable. True, many apps aren’t accessible, but I can’t think of any category where I don’t have at least one app that works well, and there are usually more than one.

    Efficiency is a good point, and is something I’ve been thinking about recently. However, I’d never want to replace my computer with an iOS device; iOS is for on-the-go work, and is something I can always have with me and can use at any time. For serious work, I’d much rather use my Mac; hotkeys, scripting, quick app switching, and more all make it the far better choice. A notetaker can offer a good amount of that efficiency, but I’d go back to the lack of apps and expandability.

  28. Mrs. Krishan Williams Says:

    Mike you are absolutely right.

    I devices were originally never really designed with blind people in mind.

    Ios voiceover is an unstable screenreader.Despite close collaboration with certain blind associations voiceover is still an unreliable screenreader. Like most mainstream devices there is always a hurdle to summount for VIPs in order to access these devices.

    Apple is still ahead of the curve regarding access to mobile devices but much more work needs to be done before I relinquish my notetaker.

    The notetaker is bespoke. Tactile. Intuitive and getting better. My U2 mini is a little miracle.

    Krish.

  29. Mohamed Says:

    I’m Mohamed from the BrailleNote list. I agree, I find that my apex really doesn’t handle a lot of things that I do. Mostly heavy web browsing. I now use a laptop running windows 8.1, and it’s so much better, because I’m no longer restricted to the apps that the company provides, I can download anything that a sighted person uses, and it’s just such a better place to live my digital life. Yes, there’s always the issue of no braille display, and some apps may be unusable with screen readers, but overall I’m pretty happy with mainstream technology.

  30. Mohamed Says:

    A slight factual error. I read about the specifications of the u2 on the hims website, it actually does support 802.11 b/g/n.

  31. Richard Lee Says:

    Braille itself is declining. Less than 5% of blind population is braille reader. Just a fraction of the braille reading population will actively and regularly read brailles.

    As a developer in braille display, it seems there is no future for this industry. All braille display users are converting to screen reader SW users, and it is very hard to find a new use cases.

    Actually there are many developers tries to make a special type of braille display. Some of them tried to make full braille or graphic braille display. For example, KGS made dot view 2, metec AG made hyperbraille. This display can transfer graphic information, which was impossible for single line braille display.

    But, it seems that there is no users using them. May be that blind person need no graphic information, or graphic information is too hard to interprete, or these displays are too expensive to buy.

    What do you think the reason is ?

    What function must be inlcuded in next generation braille display ?

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