Skip to Content

AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

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?

Find the Tools You Need and Support AFB at the Same Time

The Chicago Lighthouse will donate a portion of your eligible purchases back to AFB. Just select the Chicago Lighthouse product links to support AFB with any purchase!

There are 14 Products in the Category

Product Table

Product NameProduct DescriptionDistributor ContactImage/Multimedia Available?
Braille Lite M20 and M4020-cell (M20) or 40-cell (M40) PDA with a built-in 56K modem...
Braille Plus 18 Second GenerationBraille Plus 18 combines a high-quality braille keyboard and...
Braille Sense U2The New Braille Sense U2 provides power and speed in a notet...
Braille to Go (B2G)The Braille to Go (B2G) is a 20-cell, 8-dot braille computer...
BrailleNote Apex BT 32 Built-in options are at your fingertips to access Web pages,...
BrailleNote TouchThe BrailleNote Touch allows you to enter braille on the tou...
Braillino with BluetoothBraille PDA that can be connected to off-the-shelf mobile ph... info@handytech.us
Canute Electronic Braille ReaderThe Bristol Braille's Canute Braille reader is a multi-line ... info@bristolbraille.co.uk
ElBrailleElbraile is a full mobile portable computer running on Windo...
NeoBrailleThe NeoBraille is 32-cell, 8-dot Android-based unit sports 3... https://irie-at.com/content/neobraille-notetaker
Orbit Reader 20The Orbit Reader is a 20-cell, 8-dot display and simple note...
PAC Mate Omni BX400Portable PDA with a braille keyboard. A detachable braille d...
PAC Mate Omni BX420Portable PDA with Perkins-style braille keyboard with a 20-c...
PAC Mate Omni BX440Portable PDA with Perkins-style braille keyboard with a 40-c...

Support the AccessWorld Product Database

AFB relies on individual donors like you to support our free information, programs, and research. Please consider making a donation today!