BrailleNote Touch 32: Reviewed by Mada
The introduction of Braille Notetakers had revolutionized access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for persons with visual impairments. Notetakers serve as an ideal Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) for persons with visual impairments due to their inherent features like braille input/output, text-to-speech synthesizer, and portability. However, these devices are often of limited versatility as they do not allow users to easily update or modify the installed programs (e.g. Skype, Messenger, etc.). Such limitations often cause ICT advanced blind users not to fully fulfil their technological needs.
BrailleNote Touch 32 is an innovative device developed to address such limitations within traditional notetakers. This device combines the functions of a traditional notetaker and a modern smartphone or tablet. BrailleNote Touch 32 is powered by the Android operating system and it also supports the Arabic language. According to its developers, this is the first certified braille device to offer complete access to the Google Play Store. It is the first intuitive, and user-friendly Braille tablet that includes a built-in touchscreen to serve as a visual display for sighted individuals who would potentially interact with the device (e.g. the user’s teachers or assistants).
Along with its portability, the BrailleNote Touch 32 features the ability to cater for variable user preferences, the device includes a physical keyboard attached to the carrying case for users who prefers a traditional typing experience and/or for users without braille literacy.
BrailleNote Touch 32 is an ideal tool for blind Arabic users, as it is an efficient tool to perform everyday tasks related to ICT, from writing documents and sending emails, to downloading and reading books. In addition, it’s keyboard offers an ergonomic introduction to braille typing for young children and new learners.
The BrailleNote Touch 32 has the potential to significantly impact the education sector by allowing barrier-free interaction between the blind student, his/her teachers, and the solution itself. This facilitates a conducive environment to aid teachers to teach braille to their students while operating the device using a QWERTY keyboard. Teachers are also able to work with students to help and train them on other essential tasks like writing documents and sending emails, downloading and reading books. The innovative interface provides valuable visual feedback to the teachers and other relevant teaching staff members on the work being done by the blind user on the device in real-time. This feature proves to be useful in scenarios like exams and classroom tasks where the teaching staff would need to monitor the student’s activities.
The Android-based Operating System on the BrailleNote Touch 32 allows the device to have capabilities in par with mainstream tablets and smartphones. This is because the device is compatible with all the mainstream apps available in Google Play Store, allowing it to perform daily ICT functions like everyday office tasks from creating professional documents and emails to browsing the web and accessing cloud-based services.