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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Electronic Notetakers (Speech)

Electronic notetakers 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 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, the latest electronic notetakers provide advanced word processing, web browsing, and other functions. At one time, these devices were referred to as "accessible PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) because they allowed users to perform most of the functions of a standard PDA. Since smartphones and tablets (like the iPad) have become so prevalent, most people in the general public no longer use PDAs, so we have returned to the term electronic notetaker even though the device allows the user to do so much more than just take notes.

Electronic notetakers 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 electronic notetaker with a screen has been developed for people with low vision, so a person with low vision should consider an electronic notetaker with speech output, or a tablet computer with a screen magnification app. Someone who knows braille will probably be more comfortable using a device with braille output. For your convenience, electronic notetakers with with speech output only are listed separately here from electronic notetakers with braille and speech output .

Current electronic notetakers are based on a variety of operating systems. They generally include a simple word processor, calendar, address list, web browser and e-mail functions. Data entered into an electronic notetaker 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 electronic notetaker without a braille display costs less than $2,000. Electronic notetakers with a braille display can range from $2,000 to $6,000.

There are a number of questions to ask when purchasing an electronic notetaker, including the following:
•   How does the electronic notetaker connect to your current computer 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?

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There are 7 Products in the Category

Product Table

Product NameProduct DescriptionDistributor ContactImage/Multimedia Available?
Braille Sense U2Notetaker that allows user to create and read documents in a... sales@hims-inc.com Image
Braille+ Mobile ManagerSmall, Linux-based PDA with a 30-gigabyte hard drive and wir...
IconSmall, Linux-based PDA with a 30-gigabyte hard drive and wir...
PAC Mate Omni QX400Portable PDA with a QWERTY-style keyboard. A detachable brai...
PAC Mate Omni QX420 Portable PDA with a QWERTY-style keyboard and 40-cell braill...
PAC Mate Omni QX440Portable PDA with a QWERTY-style keyboard and 40-cell brail...
VoiceNote Apex QT Built-in options are at your fingertips to access Web pages,...

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