CSUN Round-Up 2024 (Episode 54)

The 39th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference took place from 18 to 22 March in Anaheim, California, hosted by the Centre on Disabilities, Division of Student Affairs at California State University, Northridge. There were many exciting braille product announcements at the conference, and the latest prototypes of previously announced braille products were also exhibited.

In this episode, we are joined by a panel of braille experts who attended the conference. They will help us unpack the announcements and share their thoughts on the products they saw.

If you are planning to attend any of the Sight Village exhibitions in the UK, this episode will help you decide which products you might like to see for yourself.

Products discussed in this episode:

On the panel:

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Meet Hable One: the Portable Bluetooth Controller for your Smartphone (Extra 52)

Hable One is a powerful, fun and exciting way for you to interact with your smartphone or tablet using braille. As well as being a fully functional braille keyboard, supporting both grades 1 and 2, it also serves as a wireless remote control for every aspect of your smartphone or tablet, from moving around the screen to selecting, playing and pausing music, dialling numbers and changing settings.

For beginner braillists, it is a uniquely satisfying way of putting your braille skills into practice. For more advanced braillists, it is a vital productivity tool. It works in partnership with the smartphone or tablet’s screen reader and supports all popular apps including messages/WhatsApp, Facebook/Messenger, Twitter, Spotify, mail, contacts, calendar, reminders and notes.

On Tuesday 21 February at 7:30 PM GMT, we were joined by representatives from Hable, who told us more about this innovative device. We learned how easy it is to set it up and saw some practical examples of how it works both as a keyboard and a remote control. There was also plenty of opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

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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.

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Leisure Reading with Refreshable Braille, Part 1 (Extra 33)

We were delighted to have been joined by Sean Randall for the first in a two-part series. Sean is something of a computing and IT mastermind and now works at New College Worcester, training many of their students in the use of assistive technology including screen readers and braille displays.

This session primarily discuss the various braille devices available to consumers. He then provided an overview of libraries and sources of materials specifically for blind people, including:

  • RNIB: reading Services, Bookshare and NTNM
  • The Seeing Ear National Accessible Library
  • Bibles for the Blind

This session was recorded on Tuesday 9 November 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.

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The Most Inexpensive Braille Reading Setup in the World? Introducing Braille on the Amazon Fire Tablet (Extra 27)

Over the years, blind people have benefitted from incredible enhancements in the fields of electronic braille and accessibility in general. In fact, it’s now possible to purchase a fully accessible Amazon Fire tablet for under £50 which, pared with an inexpensive braille display such as an Orbit Reader, and Amazons Kindle store which offers access to quite literally hundreds of thousands of digital books, makes for an incredibly cost-effective braille reading setup. But how does it work?

In this masterclass, presented by Ben Mustill-Rose, we provided a general overview of the Fire tablet, the basics of setting it up, how to connect a braille display and how to navigate the device using it. We then purchased a book from the Kindle store and walked through how to read it on a braille display.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 15 June 2021. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.



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