Refreshable Braille displays are braille keyboards that also feature a tactile area, where the contents of screens can be presented in braille. See the Brailliant BI 40 from HumanWare.
Refreshable Braille displays have traditionally been very expensive. However, a number of organisations are working on bringing cheaper models to market. The Orbit Reader 20 from RNIB and Braille Me from Computer Room Services are both available in the UK.
Braille notetakers are computers in their own right. They are refreshable displays that don’t need to connect to an external machine to perform standard computing tasks and so are even more expensive. Check out the BrailleSense Polaris from HIMS and HumanWare’s BrailleNote Touch as examples.
There have been a number of companies focusing on developing specialist braille tablet devices, with interesting results. insideOne is a tactile tablet featuring a braille keyboard laid into a screen with indented grooves. As well as a refreshable display along the bottom, the screen has a ‘haptic area’ which gives touch feedback to the user.
The Blitab markets itself as ‘the iPad for the blind’. Half of the surface area of the device is devoted to a refreshable display, so it is able to present whole pages of braille text, all at once.