The Braillists at NFB 2023 (Episode 50)

The Braillists Foundation held a face-to-face meeting at the 83rd annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind at the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, Texas, in July 2023. Our Chairman, Dave Williams, was there with a microphone to soak up the atmosphere.

We spoke to:

With thanks to the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library for allowing us the use of their room for our meeting.


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 entry with an iPhone and a Brailliant BI40X
  • Reading books with an iPhone, the Kindle app and an Orbit Reader 20

How to Choose your Braille Display (Extra 21)

We were delighted to be joined by renowned braille display expert Jackie Brown. Jackie is a freelance writer, regular reviewer of braille technology, and author of “Braille On Display” (published by Mosen Consulting), a comprehensive comparison of braille displays and guide to choosing the right one.

On Tuesday 20 April 2021, Jackie talked us through the process of choosing a braille display. She outlined which factors to consider and why, and the key features of the braille displays which are currently on the market. If you’ve ever wondered “Which braille display is the best one?” you are sure to have the answer at the end of this session.

For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.


Dr Robert Englebretson on the International Phonetic Alphabet (Episode 25)

Based in Houston, Texas, Dr Robert Englebretson is widely recognised for his contribution to braille research. In 2008, his work on updating the Braille International Phonetic Alphabet was published by the International Council on English Braille, and in 2019 the Braille Authority of North America made him a recipient of the Darleen Bogart Braille Excellence Award in recognition of this work.

More recently, in his role as Associate Professor of Linguistics at Rice University, he has begun to tackle misconceptions around how students learn to read and write braille from the perspective of the cognitive sciences, with a large research project due to be completed in 2024.

On Friday 3 June, we caught up with Robert as part of our series of Stay Safe: Stay Connected conference calls, and we started by asking him to describe the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Links of Interest


An Introduction to the Abacus (Extra 9)

What is an Abacus and why would you use one? In this session, led by James Bowden, participants learnt about the various features of the Abacus and why it is ideal for use as a blind person.

The session covered:

  • Physical description and orientation
  • The beads and their meaning
  • Setting numbers
  • Basic addition
  • Overflows and carries

If you have an Abacus, you might find it helpful to have it with you so that you can follow along.

This session was recorded on Tuesday 8 December 2020. For further information please visit the Braillists Foundation Media Page.