There are consumer braille embossers that cost under $5,000 and commercial models which can run you upwards of six figures, but not a lot of options in-between. Braillo Norway, a company known for its commercial-grade embossers, has announced an updated version of the Braillo 300 at a reduced price of $23,000. Announced at the World Blind Union and ICEVI General Assembly in Orlando, the embosser prints at 300 characters per second and comes with a free copy of the Duxbury braille translation software. That price may look scary, but to a braille production house, it could be a huge break. An earlier model of the Brailo 300 was being demonstrated at CSUN in 2013 at a price of $57,000. Preorders are being taken now, with shipping expected to begin in October. Check out the Braillo web page on the new embosser for more information.
An ultrasound is one of those magical moments of pregnancy, but to many blind people, it's just a flat picture. A company called IN UTERO 3D is providing accessible 3d-printed ultrasounds for virtually nothing. The free tactile models are available for blind and visually impaired couples around the world for the low cost of 1 Euro. Residents of Poland, where the company is based, will received the actual 3D printed model while those in other countries will receive a digital file which can be produced using a 3D printer. This news article provides more information.
As Windows 10 adds more hotkeys, especially with the new Anniversary Edition, other programs are trying to avoid keyboard conflicts. Many of the hotkeys for Twitter client Chicken Nugget have fallen into this trap and often didn’t work properly in Windows 10. The new Version 4.2 resolves this and makes the program much easier to use in Windows 10. It also now plays audion from video service Vine, fixes YouTube support, and includes several additional bug fixes. You can download version 4.2 from the source link below, and look at the complete changelog after the jump.
While we regularly see apps get ported over from iOS to Android, it's rare the opposite occurs. One such occurrence is APH's Nearby Explorer which is now live in the iOS App Store. Having a brief look at the Manual for iOS, and also a read through of the manual for Android, it appears that many of the same features appear in both versions.
Michael Doise, who has developed several apps for iOS including PocketBraille Reference, Visual Brailler, VO Starter, and blind Bargains, has now brought his skills to the Alexa platform. The Braille Challenge is an Alexa skill that asks the user questions to test their knowledge of braille. Most questions deal with the dot formations found in uncontracted braille, though there are also a few questions about braille itself. The skill, like all others on the Echo platform is free to play and can be activated by telling Alexa to enable The Braille Challenge. While a simple utility, it can be a great reference for those trying to learn braille who just want a bit of practice and who may learn better with this approach.
Despite Really Long Version Number, new TalkBack 220.127.116.11 includes Variety of Updates for Android Users
The latest release of TalkBack, version 18.104.22.168, has now been pushed out for Android users. Despite the long version number, this is actually a major update with new features for web users, text editing and multipage views, among othres. Those testing Android N, the forthcoming version of the operating system, also get some love in this release including features which support the new multi-window mode that will be availavle. It's a free update and available now from Google Play. The complete release notes, as posted to the Eyes-free mailing list, are below.
Humanware Roles out First Update for BrailleNote Touch Customers Offering Access to More Video Content, More
While some customers may still be waiting for their BrailleNote Touch to arrive, the ones who have it are now able to get a brand new update, with some major feature additions. Among the new functionality this update provides are access to the camera, louder internal volume/improved sound quality, updated video encoders and decoders for popular apps, and more.
The Cisco Academy For the Vision Impaired is currently accepting enrollments for its fall slate of courses. These online courses are specifically designed for blind and visually impaired individuals and include online instruction via voice chat, one-on-one instructor time, and many other support tools. Courses generally require at least 10 students to enroll, and several offerings are already scheduled to run this term including three audio-related courses and instruction on HTML and Powerpoint. Learn the ins and outs of multitrack audio editing with Reaper, or how to design a good-looking web page with HTML. Use Powerpoint to create visually attractive and functional presentations. Other courses, including network-related offerings and a course on Linux, will run if more students sign up. Fee are well below comparable offerings at a college or university, and scholarships are often available. Check the source link for more information. Deadline to register is August 15.
LookTel Money Reader has been renamed, and at least for the moment, is a free app It is now known as NantMobile Money Reader.
Microsoft has announced on its blog that, with the Anniversary update to Windows 10, Edge is now its "most accessible browser ever". This includes support for "PDF files, Narrator support for address bar suggestions and instant answers, and a wide range of improvements to common daily browsing features such as tabs, windows, and favorites." It is also worth noting that Edge 14, which is the version of the browser that comes with the Anniversary update was the only browser to score at 100% in the HTML 5 accessibility test. This test goes through browsers and measures how well the features are accessible with various adaptive technology without having to resort to work arounds to utilize specific features. See the link above for further details. Have you tried the new Edge and the Anniversary update? Feel free to sound off in the comments section about your experiences.
After Closing the Free Upgrade to Windows 10 for Mainstream Users, Microsoft Delivers on Promise to AT Users
As promised, Microsoft is still allowing people who use any form of assistive technology to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. At this stage, no verification that you are indeed running assistive technology on your computer is required.
Humanware has officially announced that the KNFB Reader app will be included as part of the BrailleNote Touch when the next version of Keysoft is released. While there was an announcement at the NFB convention, it was officially announced on Monday. Humanware has indicated that this update will be free for BrailleNote Touch customers, and will be released in September. BrailleNote Touch users will get a notification on their Touch when it is available and they are connected to Wifi. See the source link for more information.
Baum has released version 1.33 of its English firmware for the VarioUltra 20 and 40 cell braille displays. This update includes several new features and some bug fixes.
Earlier today, RS Games announced on Twitter that there is now an iOS version of its service available. The app, was developed with Kid Friendly Software features many of the gestures and voice settings found in the conventional Blindfold series of games.
At the 2016 AER International Conference in Jacksonville, the American Printing House for the Blind showed off, among other braille products, their latest collaboration with Orbit Research, a new product called the Refreshable Tactile Graphics Display.
The American Foundation for the Blind has released a set of tutorial videos to assist the beginning computer user in setting up and using NVDA. Just like NVDA, these videos are free of charge. Topics include how to install NVDA, hot key commands, Windows basics, and use of the internet with the Firefox browser. The web page, listed as the source link, promises that more video tutorials are coming soon.
A big step forward for braille has been authorized by Congress. On July 13, legislation that was introduced by Senator Schumer of New York passed in the senate. This bill, s. 3207 authorizes NLS to begin to distribute braille technology to its patrons. While NLS has been previously able to offer Digital Talking Book Players for audio content it produces and offers through its BARD service, they have not had the authority to utilize funding to distribute the digital braille equivalent. As a braille user, for example, who did not have the money or funding to purchase a braille device, the digital braille files NLS also offers would then not be usable by these patrons.
it's not exactly clear what the next step will be to getting braille devices in to the hands of NLS patrons, nor is it exactly clear what hardware will be used. It may be worth noting that this Government Accountability Office report from April 2016 made mention of the drop in cost to braille technology, and also the fact that distributing said devices could net a huge savings to NLS. One such lower cost option is the Orbit reader 20 makes specific mention of supporting NLS downloaded content internally, that was formally introduced at CSUN the previous month. The Orbit Reader 20 is expected to be available for under $500 later this year. It may also be worth noting that when the Digital Talking Book Players were rolled out to patrons in 2009, Veterans were the first to receive them.
On Friday, HIMS released version 2.0 for the Blaze,it's newest line of DAISY and multi-media players. According to the release notes, this update improves the speed of text input, improves the speed when opening ePub files, allows for the text to speech to go faster and added several streaming formats to the Web Radio, among many other enhancements. There were also several new features introduced with the latest firmware of both the Blaze EZ and ET.
HIMS Releases Firmware Patch for Braille Sense Notetakers: announces it will be the last for some Older Models
HIMS has released a patch for the firmware in its Braille Sense line of notetakers. The new 8.5 patch adds a special Exam Mode for students taking standardized tests and gives the user the ability to connect to both a USB and Bluetooth device simultaneously in the Terminal For Screen reader. The patch also fixes email access with some email providers and enhances the Youtube app.
The bigger story for older Braille Sense owners is that this will be the last firmware update for owners of the Braille Sense PLUS, Braille Sense PLUS QWERTY and Braille Sense OnHand. The Braille Sense Plus was released in 2008, the QWERTY Plus in 2009, and the OnHand in 2011. If you wish to upgrade your Braille Sense using the online method, from the Main menu, press U for Utilities, and yoU again for upgrade firmware. As with all firmware updates, this one is also free.Check the source link for more details, including a link to the official release notes.
The developer behind Chicken Nugget, qRead, and qCast, has officially launched Captcha Be Gone, a way to bypass those pesky visual challenges which ask you to type the letters you see. For an interview with Christopher Toth, and to learn more about the project, you can listen to episode 51 of the BBQ.
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