Personal Digital Assistants (Braille)
Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are small, portable devices for storing information with the use of braille or typewriter keyboards. The stored information may be accessed through a built-in speech synthesizer, a braille display, or both. In the past, similar devices that were less powerful and less versatile than PDAs were referred to as braille notetakers, which were used for storing names and telephone numbers, keeping track of appointments, and taking notes. In addition to these functions, PDAs provide advanced word processing, web browsing, and other functions. The term “personal digital assistant” describes the devices listed in this section much more accurately.
PDAs allow you to get rid of a lot of scraps of paper or cassette tapes you have used for trying to keep track of information. No PDA with a screen has been developed for people with low vision, so a person with low vision should consider a PDA with speech output. Someone who knows braille will probably be more comfortable using a device with braille output. For your convenience, PDAs with braille and speech output are listed separately here from PDAs with speech output only.
Current PDAs are based on Microsoft’s Windows CE operating system, a version of Windows specifically designed for handheld computers. They generally include a simple word processor, calendar, address list, and e-mail functions. Data entered into a PDA may be transferred to a larger computer with more memory, reviewed using the built-in speech synthesizer or braille display, or printed on a braille or inkprint printer. A basic PDA without a braille display costs between $2,000 and $3,000. A PDA with a braille display is typically double the price.
There are a number of questions to ask when purchasing personal digital assistants, including the following:
• How does the PDA connect to your system?
• Does it have expandable memory?
• Is add-on software available for it?
• Do you require multi-language support?
• Do you need one-handed mode?
14 Products in Category
Braille Sense Plus
BrailleNote mPower BT 18
BrailleNote mPower BT 32
BrailleNote mPower QT 18
BrailleNote mPower QT 32
Braillex EL Braille Assistant (ELba) (20-cell)
Braillex EL Braille Assistant (ELba) (32cell)
Braillino with Bluetooth
PAC Mate Omni BX400
PAC Mate Omni BX420
PAC Mate Omni BX440