A Fresh Look at BrailleBy Halliday, Jim; Closing the Gap, Vol. 22, No. 5, pp. 1, 18
Publication Date: December 2003/January 2004
Article discusses technological advances in Braille, and how the developments can break down barriers that are yielded by the Braille-versus- speech debate. Six issues and technological advances are highlighted: (1) the validity of Braille, (2) contracted Braille, (3) personal productivity, (4) portability/workstations, (5) electronic information, and (6) electronic Braille books. The validity of Braille is reflected from research that has revealed that 93 percent of people who are blind and employed read Braille. With such profound evidence to support Braille, it must be accepted that Braille usage is a great advantage in both educational and employment settings. The issue of contracted Braille isolating people who are blind is not relevant in the modern world. A product such as the Braille Translator from Duxbury, which is a computer program that converts standard text to contracted Braille or vice versa, makes it simple to convert files and ensure equal accessibility to people who read both print and Braille. Programs such as the BrailleNote, which is portable personal digital assistant that yields voice output, print, and Braille can increase productivity by presenting accessible information to people with a wide range of abilities. The BrailleNote is also effective in a sense that it is portable, and can be used at a computer terminal or on its own at a meeting where there may not be computer access. The Braille Star might be more effective for people who spend the whole day on a computer, as it works with a variety of screen readers, and can be detached and used independently. Files or books from a computer can be loaded onto the Braille Star’s memory, to be read while the device is unplugged from the computer. The BrailleNote also has the capability to download books from other computers or from the Internet.
Assistive Products Discussed: BRAILLE STAR 40
DUXBURY BRAILLE TRANSLATOR FOR THE APPLE MACINTOSH (DBT MAC)
DUXBURY BRAILLE TRANSLATOR FOR WINDOWS (DBT WIN)
Published by: Closing the Gap, Inc. (Website:http://www.closingthegap.com)
Link to text: http://www.closingthegap.com/ctg2/members2/issuesummaryInline.lasso?DateofPublication=Dec&Year=2004