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A BrailleNote is a computer made by HumanWare[1] for persons with visual impairments. It has either a braille keyboard or a Qwerty Keyboard, a speech synthesizer, and a 32-[2] or 18-column refreshable Braille display, depending on model. The "VoiceNote" is the same device without a braille display. The BrailleNote GPS is an 18 or 32 cell BrailleNote with an External GPS module. BrailleNote GPS.

BrailleNote can use only the software provided by the manufacturer, although this can be upgraded.[3]

Use of BrailleNote is suggested by the State University of New York Center for Assistive Technology[4] and is sometimes purchased by colleges for use by the disabled.[5] The BrailleNote product series, introduced in 2000, is regarded as being the first of its kind.[6]

It is possible to obtain a visual interface to the data on a BrailleNote by attaching a computer with a terminal emulator such as Hyperterminal.[7]


The first "Classic" version of the BrailleNote was released in April, 2000. It used Windows CE 2.12 to Windows CE.NET 4.2 on a MIPS R4000 at 100 MHz Processor.[8]


Introduced in 2004, this small, purse-sized computer has an ARM processor, 40 MB of RAM, 16 MB of Flash, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. This unit also has a Compactflash slot.[9]


The BrailleNote mPower was introduced in June 2005 and had 128 megabytes of onboard memory and used DiskOnChip memory to avoid losing data if power is lost.[10]


The BrailleNote Apex, released in November 2009, is a thinner and lighter version of its predecessors. It runs Windows CE 6.[11] It uses the i.MX31 processor.[12] It usually sells for about $5,500 with the 32 Braille cell display.

Software and supported formats[edit]

The Apex's internal software suite is called KeySoft. The current version is 9.5. It includes a word processor, book reader, Web browser, email client, voice recorder, media player, and an XMPP-based IM client called KeyChat (which can also be used with popular non-XMPP protocols such as MSN but this is complex to set up[13]). The book reader supports English text files (it can convert these to Grade 2 braille automatically if required), Braille ASCII files that specify the dot patterns precisely (these usually have the extension .BRL or .BRF),[14] and audio books including the DAISY format.


The Apex has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and three USB host ports for connecting to printers, embossers, and storage devices.[15] The Apex has a fourth USB port that can be used to connect it to a computer for ActiveSync and for operation as a Braille terminal for the computer.[15] It is capable of interfacing with Bluetooth GPS receivers. Apex has a built-in VGA (monitor) port for viewing information on a monitor. The Apex has removable battery on its underside.[16]

BrailleNote Touch[edit]

The newest model is the BrailleNote Touch, released in Spring 2016. Like earlier models, it runs KeySoft and displays output on 18 or 32 display cells. However, BrailleNote Touch additionally utilizes new TouchBraille software to input typing using a touch screen instead of the classic keyboard.[17] Visual display can be turned on or off. TouchBraille uses the same typing commands as previous models and calibrates the location of the keys on the screen to optimize typing for each user, with vibration-response user interface. BrailleNote Touch also sports a 8MP camera with LED-based lighting. [18]


External links[edit]