This episode focusses on braille technology: its past, present and future. We are joined by historians, people working in the braille technology industry today and developers of the next generation of braille hardware and software.
How a Blind Musician and Programmer Developed the First Braille Music Translation Package (Episode 46)
The blind community is not without its fair share of innovators: Louis Braille himself, of course, alongside many others who brought us the braille code we know and love today. Elsewhere, the blind community has invented talking book players, screen readers, notetakers and so much more.
For blind musicians, many of the most notable technological innovations in the past thirty years or so have come from Dancing Dots, makers of the Goodfeel braille music translator, Cake Talking scripts for the Sonar Digital Audio Workstation, and Sibelius Speaking.
In this episode, we catch up with its founder, Bill McCann. We talk about how he came to found Dancing Dots and what his products do, before discussing the advantages of his favourite braille displays – the QBraille XL and Canute 360 – and the mechanics of reading music using refreshable braille.
Purchasing in the UK
- QBraille XL (£2745 ex VAT) from Sight and Sound Technology ltd: call 01604 798070.
- Canute 360 (£1895 ex VAT) and the Goodfeel Braille Music Translator (£1275 ex VAT) from Techno-Vision Systems Ltd: call 01604 792777.
Using Braille Displays with Phones and Tablets (Episode 45)
The Braillists Foundation recently held its first face-to-face event since the Coronavirus pandemic. In this episode, we catch up with some of the people who attended, and we also hear recordings of the three presentations which took place:
- Reading multilingual text using an iPhone, the Kindle app and a Focus 14
- Text enntry with an iPhone and a Brailliant BI40X
- Reading books with an iPhone, the Kindle app and an Orbit Reader 20
An Evening With George Bell (Episode 44)
George Bell has been at the helm of Techno-Vision Systems for at least 35 years. In that time, he has brought many blindness products to the UK market, repaired numerous machines which would have otherwise been condemned, and provided countless hours of technical support. He is particularly well-known for his involvement with the Duxbury Braille Translator, not only as UK sales and support but also through his tireless oversight of the documentation. He also enjoyed a very fruitful relationship with Dancing Dots, and imported many of their products including the Goodfeel braille music translator.
As we approach the end of George’s long and established career, we thought it would be fitting to spend some time in conversation with him, picking out the highlights of the past three and a half decades and thinking about what the future might look like.
Braille in the Technology Industry (Episode 43)
On Tuesday 15 November 2022, we hosted an incredibly informative panel discussion around writing software and working in the technology industry in general when using a braille display.
We heard from people in a variety of different IT rolls about the techniques they use, when they use braille and when they use speech, and left plenty of time for audience questions.
Six Dots to Success (Episode 42)
We are delighted to be collaborating with Sight and Sound Technology for our inaugural online conference to mark World Braille Day. Find out more in this episode, and register for the conference here.
Braille for Beginners On-Demand (Episode 41)
Find out all about the Braillists Foundation’s new Braille for Beginners On-Demand programme in this archive of the launch event which took place on Monday 10 October 2022.
How Perkins Braillers are Made (Episode 40)
What Happened at ICEB? (Episode 39)
The International Council on English Braille held its Mid-Term Executive Committee Meeting from 5-9 June 2022. As well as transacting various items of business, there were lively discussions around the history of braille, braille music, braille technology and the braille code itself.
In this episode of Braillecast, we were joined by ICEB President Judy Dixon to discover the highlights of the Mid-Term and look ahead to how the discussions that took place will influence the future of braille around the world.
What Happened at CSUN? (Episode 38)
The annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference took place in March in California, and there were lots of exciting braille and tactile graphics announcements.
We assembled a line-up of braille-using panellists who attended the conference who talked us through what was announced and gave their first impressions of the new products they saw.