An Introduction To Arabic Braille (Extra 75)

This session, presented by Saima Akhtar, is designed to give you a Whistlestop tour of the fundamentals of Arabic braille. Rest assured, it’s not nearly as complicated as you think. By the end of the session, you will have more insight into the following areas:

  • The origins of Arabic braille
  • Common misconceptions around the structure and layout of Arabic braille
  • How the Arabic alphabet is constructed (here we will tackle the puzzling conundrum surrounding how to identify consonants and vowels)
  • Next steps for anybody looking to learn more after the session

Please note, it will be much easier to follow along if you have a grasp of grade one English braille as Saima will refer to similarities between English and Arabic braille throughout the session.

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The Braille Features of Supernova (Extra 67)

Supernova is a screen magnification and screen reading package from Dolphin Computer Access Ltd, based in Worcester in the UK. Braille display support is a core part of its offering, but we don’t hear very much about it.

In this session, we were joined by Aj Ahmed, proprietor of AAT Solutions, an independent provider of assistive technology training and support. Aj talked us through how to set up a braille display to work with Supernova, the various settings which are available, and the keystrokes which will help you make the most of this functionality.

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Transferring Content to your Braille Display (Extra 60)

Have you ever downloaded a book from Bookshare or Reading Services, but struggled to extract the zip file? Have you ever had a BRF file emailed to you, but not been able to copy it to your braille display? Does your braille display only support text or BRF files, but you want to read Word or PDF files on it?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, this episode is for you!

Matthew Horspool was in the presenter’s chair on Tuesday 19 September 2023 and took us step by step through extracting zip files, converting files from one format to another, and copying files from your computer to your braille display. Demonstrations using a screen reader formed an integral part of the presentation, and as ever there was plenty of time for questions at the end.

N.B. most of the demos were carried out on Windows, but the concepts discussed should apply equally to other operating systems.

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Six Dots to Success: What Braille Means to Me and Panel (Extra 55)

The final recording from the recent Six Dots to Success conference held in collaboration with Sight and Sound Technology Ltd.

This episode features:

  • Options in Education with Braille with Alannah Moriarty
  • Panel discussion chaired by Roger Firman
  • Summing up
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Six Dots to Success: Braille in Higher Education and Employment (Extra 53)

The third of a series of recordings from the recent Six Dots to Success conference held in collaboration with Sight and Sound Technology Ltd.

This episode features a recording of one of the breakout rooms.

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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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Six Dots to Success: Welcome, Keynote and Braille for Beginners (Extra 49)

The first of a series of recordings from the recent Six Dots to Success conference held in collaboration with Sight and Sound Technology Ltd.

This episode includes:

  • Welcome from Sight and Sound CEO Glenn Tookey
  • Welcome from Braillists Chairman Dave Williams
  • Keynote speech from Peter White, Disability Affairs Correspondent at the BBC
  • Greater Independence with Braille: a video by Red Széll
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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.

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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.

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The BrailleSense 6 (Episode 35)

For at least the past 30 years, blind people have been well-served by notetakers: electronic, computer-like devices with a Perkins-style keyboard and speech and braille output. At their most basic level, they’ve functioned as an electronic brailler for composing documents and, of course, taking notes, but they’ve also included functionality such as a calculator, address list, scheduler and, latterly, internet connectivity. Over the past few years, there’s been a steady shift towards vastly increasing the capabilities of these devices, with many moving towards either Windows or Android.

The latest of this newer style of notetaker is the BrailleSense 6 from Selvis Healthcare (formerly Hims). It measures 9.65×5.67×0.87 inches, weighs 1.58 lbs (2.3 lbs with case), and is equipped with a 4590 mAh user-replaceable battery, wi-fi up to 802.11AC, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS and compass, USB C with display port functionality, full-size SD card slot, 13 MP rear camera, microphone and stereo speakers. It’s also just received its first software update.

Stuart Lawler is Head of Digital Content at Sight and Sound Technology Ltd, and Business Development Manager at Sight and Sound Ireland, and he joined me to tell us more about this update and the BrailleSense as a whole.

The BrailleSense 6 retails for £4395 excluding VAT.

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