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Computers for the Blind: Details and Options


Table of Contents


  1. Microsoft Windows XP Accessibility Notes
  2. Speech Recognition Software
  3. Screen Readers and Speech Synthesizers
  4. Braille Devices
  5. Headphones / Microphones


Compiled July 20, 2006 by Jeff Ouano for Tyler Clayton (ACPL)


Microsoft Windows XP Accessibility Notes




Options for Users with Vision Impairments


Features such as text-to-speech tools, keyboard shortcuts, magnifiers, mouse pointers,

color and contrast schemes, and other UI elements are useful to people who are blind or

have low vision, colorblindness, tunnel vision, or other vision impairments.


Microsoft Narrator


Narrator is a minimally featured text-to-speech utility included with Windows XP

Professional that reads objects on the screen, their properties, and their spatial

relationships. You can run Narrator from the Start menu or by using Utility Manager.

Narrator automatically reads certain information when it changes on the screen. Narrator

is always available, and the user can later install alternative screen-reading devices or



Narrator allows users or administrators to customize the way a device reads screen

elements. The Voice option allows you to adjust the speed, volume, or pitch of the voice.

The Reading option allows you to select the pressed keys you want Narrator to read

aloud, such as DELETE, ENTER, printable characters, or modifiers. The Move mouse

pointer option causes the mouse pointer to follow the active object on the screen. The

Announce events on screen option allows you to configure Narrator to announce new

windows, menus, or shortcut menus when it displays them.


Many users with low vision need a text-to-speech utility with a higher functionality for

daily use. For a list of other text-to-speech tools, see the Microsoft Accessibility link on

the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.


Note Narrator is a temporary aid and is not intended as a replacement for full-featured

text-to-speech utilities that are available from other software companies.


Keyboard Audio Cues


People with vision impairments might not be able to see lights on the keyboard that

indicate CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, and SCROLL LOCK status. ToggleKeys provides

audio cues to indicate whether these keys are active or inactive. If ToggleKeys is on,

pressing one of these keys to activate it produces a high-pitched beep. Pressing one of

these keys to inactivate it produces a beep that is an octave lower. You can activate

ToggleKeys in Accessibility Options in Control Panel or select I have trouble using a

keyboard or a mouse in the Accessibility Wizard. You can also use a shortcut key to

control ToggleKeys.


To turn ToggleKeys on or off by using a shortcut key


•Press and then hold down the NUM LOCK key for eight seconds. When ToggleKeys

turns on, a rising series of beeps plays. When it is off, the sound is a descending series of


ToggleKeys is also useful for people who accidentally press the CAPS LOCK key

instead of the TAB key because it provides immediate feedback. For keyboards that do

not have indicator lights for the CAPS LOCK, NUM LOCK, and SCROLL LOCK keys,

ToggleKeys provides a method for tracking that status of these keys.


FilterKeys and BounceKeys can both be set to provide audio clues when the user presses

a key. You can enable the option Do you want Windows to beep when it accepts a

keystroke? by selecting the check box in either of these features or by using the

appropriate shortcut keys.




Magnifier is a screen enlarger that magnifies a portion of the display to make the screen

easier to read for some people. Magnifier displays an enlarged portion of the screen in a

separate window. While Magnifier can be helpful for occasional use, many users with

low vision need a magnification utility with a higher functionality for daily use.


Note Magnifier is a limited solution and is not intended as a replacement for the full-

featured screen-enlargement utilities that are available from other software companies.

For more information about screen enlarging tools, see the Microsoft Accessibility link

on the Web Resources page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/reskits/webresources.


Using Magnifier, you can do the following:


•Magnify an area of the screen up to nine times the standard display size.

•Choose to have the magnified area follow the mouse pointer, the keyboard focus, the

text editing focus, or any combination of these three.

•Invert colors for contrast.

•Resize and relocate the Magnifier display area.

When Magnifier is on, the magnified area is a display-only area, not an active area. The

active focus for the cursor, keyboard, and other input devices is in the unmagnified area.


To start Magnifier, press the WINDOWS LOGO key+U to run Utility Manager; or from

the Start menu, point to All Programs, Accessories, Accessibility, and then click

Magnifier. If Magnifier is already running, select its button on the taskbar to open the

dialog box.


You can use the mouse to resize or reposition the magnification window anywhere within

the desktop area. Alternatively, you can reposition the window by using the arrow key.

You can also dock the magnification window to the top, bottom, or side of the display.

Press ALT+F6 to focus on the magnification window, and then press ALT+SPACEBAR


to display the System Menu. Type M to invoke the move feature, and then use the arrow

keys to move the magnification window.


Customizing Fonts


Users with low vision might benefit from using larger, more legible fonts in applications

and in the user interface. You can change text sizes for Windows messages in

Accessibility Wizard or Control Panel. Set custom options in Custom Font Size by

choosing Other in the Font Size list and then either selecting one of the percentage

options in the drop-down list or clicking the ruler and dragging the pointer to specify a

font size.


You can add or remove fonts and restrict font sizes by removing all TrueType fonts and

leaving only raster fonts. TrueType fonts are device-independent fonts that are stored as

outlines and that can be scaled to produce characters in varying sizes. Raster fonts are

bitmap images that can provide greater visibility at fixed sizes. Removing fonts does not

delete them from the hard disk drive. Users can easily reinstall the fonts for later use. To

add or remove fonts, in Control Panel, double-click Fonts.


Note Limiting fonts also limits the number of fonts available to applications. This

operation should be used with caution because it affects the display of documents on the

screen and how they are printed.


To limit the system to a single font


1.Create a new folder on the desktop or hard disk.

2.In Control Panel, click Fonts.

3.Select all the fonts in the Fonts folder, move them to the new folder, and then restart the computer.


The system font is not listed, so it remains even when you delete all other fonts.


The font size you specify in Control Panel affects all video adapters on your system. To

change font settings for individual window objects, double-click Display in Control

Panel, and then click the Appearance tab. To add a new font, in Control Panel, double-

click Fonts.


Size and Color Schemes


Windows XP Professional includes a new look and feel—the Windows XP theme—

although users can choose the Windows Classic theme instead. The Windows XP theme

improves the overall user interface, while the Classic theme provides full flexibility for

customization. Users who must configure color schemes can change all aspects of the

user interface by using the Windows Classic theme. Using the Windows XP theme limits

changes to the size of certain elements. You can choose a theme by using the Display

Control Panel option and selecting the Theme tab.


In the Windows XP Professional Accessibility Wizard and in Control Panel, users can

adjust the size and color of most screen elements, such as window text, menus, mouse

pointer, fonts, and caption bars. This capability can make the system easier to use and can

reduce eye strain. In Accessibility Wizard, users can change icon size, mouse pointer

size, and text size.


The following are considerations for adjusting the color settings:


•Settings that display a large number of colors require a large amount of computer

processor resources.

•A High Color setting (16-bit) includes more than 65,000 colors. A True Color setting

(24-bit or 32-bit) includes more than 16 million colors.

•The monitor and display adapter determine the maximum number of colors that can

appear on the screen.

•To change settings for another monitor in a multiple-monitor system, in the Display

Properties dialog box, select the Extend My Windows Desktop onto this Monitor

check box to change the settings for the other monitor. You can make color settings for

each installed monitor.

To change the border width of windows, including command prompt windows, double-

click Display in Control Panel, and then click the Appearance tab to select the preferred

scheme. Users can also resize a window by using the keyboard instead of the mouse, or in

Accessibility Wizard by selecting I am blind or have difficulty seeing things on

screen. You can adjust the width of the cursor in Accessibility Options by moving the

slider bar on the Display tab.


High-contrast color schemes can be helpful to users with low vision who require a high

degree of contrast between foreground and background objects to distinguish the objects.

For example, some users cannot easily read black text on a gray background or text

drawn over a picture. By selecting a high-contrast display scheme, users can instruct

Windows XP Professional and programs to display information with a high degree of

contrast. Activating High Contrast mode selects a color scheme that makes it easier for

some users to see screen objects. To choose a high-contrast color scheme, in

Accessibility Options, on the Display tab, click Settings, and then choose a scheme

from the drop-down list.


In addition, while using the Magnifier dialog box, users can temporarily invert the colors

of the magnification window or display the screen in high contrast. It can take a few

seconds for High Contrast Mode to take effect.


Mouse Pointers


Customized through Accessibility Wizard or Control Panel, mouse pointers allow the

user to select the most visible pointer. Choices include three sizes and a white or black

pointer or an inverted pointer that reacts to screen colors and changes to contrast with the

background. You can set the following mouse pointer characteristics:


•Pointer size

•Pointer color

•Speed of the pointer

•Visible trails of pointer movement

•Animation of the pointer

Other options for users who have difficulty seeing the mouse pointer include MouseKeys

and Snap To. For more information about MouseKeys, see “Options for Users with

Mobility Impairments” later in this appendix. For more information about Snap To, see

“Options for Users with Cognitive Disabilities” later in this appendix.


Insertion Point Indicator Blink Rate


You can increase the visibility of the insertion point indicator by changing the rate at

which it flashes. You can change the insertion point indicator blink rate by using the

Keyboard Control Panel option.


Sound Schemes


Users with low vision might benefit from reducing distracting movement on screen. You

can prevent animations, videos, and sounds from loading. By using Control Panel, you

can assign custom sounds to any event. You can also customize sound schemes by

turning sound on or off or by adjusting the volume up or down.


Speech Recognition Software




Speech recognition systems can be characterized by many parameters as in

the table below.


Parameters Range


Speaking Mode Isolated words to continuous speech

Speaking Style Read speech to spontaneous speech

Enrollment Speaker-dependent to Speaker-independent

Vocabulary Small (< 20 words) to large (> 20,000 words)

Language Model Finite-state to context-sensitive

Perplexity Small (< 10) to large (> 100)

SNR High (> 30 dB) to low (< 10 dB)

Transducer Voice-cancelling microphone to telephone






From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


(Redirected from Dragon Naturally Speaking)

Jump to: navigation, search


For the purpose of brevity just the name NaturallySpeaking is used throughout the


majority of the article.


Dragon NaturallySpeaking is the market leader for desktop speech recognition

software. Dragon NaturallySpeaking is designed to run on Microsoft Windows, but has

also been shown to run under Linux using software emulation.


Dragon NaturallySpeaking superimposes on top of other software. Dictation temporarily

appears in a floating Results Box as words are spoken, and when a pause for breath is

taken Dragon NaturallySpeaking will essentially transcribe or paste the words into the

location of the cursor.


Like other speech recognition software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking has three primary

areas of functionality. Dictation, whereby spoken language is transcribed to written text;

commands that control, whereby spoken language is recognized as a command to click

widgets (controls); and finally text-to-speech whereby written text is converted to

synthesized audio stream. It has to be trained for approximately 10 minutes to recognize

the user's voice.


Screen Readers and Speech Synthesizers




Screen Readers


Screen readers are software programs that allow blind or visually impaired users to read

the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer. A screen

reader is the interface between the computer’s operating system, its applications, and the

user. The user sends commands by pressing different combinations of keys on the

computer keyboard to instruct the speech synthesizer what to say and to speak

automatically when changes occur on the computer screen. A command can instruct the

synthesizer to read or spell a word, read a line or full screen of text, find a string of text

on the screen, announce the location of the computer’s cursor or focused item, and so on.

In addition, it allows users to perform more advanced functions, such as locating text

displayed in a certain color, reading pre-designated parts of the screen on demand,

reading highlighted text, and identifying the active choice in a menu. Users may also use

the spell checker in a word processor or read the cells of a spreadsheet with a screen



Screen readers are currently available for use with personal computers running DOS,

Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows

XP operating systems. Each screen reader incorporates a different command structure,

and most support a variety of speech synthesizers. Prices range from $250 to $1,500.

Screen readers are used mainly by people who do not have useful vision to read text on

the screen. A screen reader can also be the product of choice for someone with vision that

is useful for travel, but not for reading. In the long run, learning to listen to speech output

will prove more productive for such individuals than struggling to read text while leaning

close to the computer screen.


Here are some questions to ask when purchasing screen readers:


• Is the screen reader compatible with your computer’s operating system?

• Does it work with your braille display?

• Can it read a word, line, and paragraph of text?

• Do its commands conflict with Windows keyboard commands?

• What keystrokes are used for the program’s basic and advanced functions? Are the

keystrokes easy to remember? Is it possible to change the key combinations if they

conflict with those used by application programs?

• Do you need high-quality speech, which is more expensive, or can you function

comfortably and efficiently with lower quality speech?

• Does the synthesizer mispronounce many words? Can you listen to it comfortably for

more than 15 minutes without getting a headache?

• Is the synthesizer to be used on one desktop machine or in more than one location? If

the synthesizer is to be used in one location, an internal card may be preferable because it

does not occupy a computer port.


Speech Synthesizers


Speech synthesizers are text-to-speech systems used with computers. It can be a card that

is inserted into the computer, a box attached to the computer by a cable, or software that

works with the computer's sound card. Speech synthesizers are programmed to include all

the phonemes and grammatical rules of a language, allowing words to be pronounced

correctly although names and compound words can cause problems because they often

contain unusual spellings and letter combinations. Some synthetic speech sounds robotic;

however, more and more new products sound almost human. Prices range from

approximately $150 to $1,000, and software synthesizers are routinely included with the

purchase of a screen reader.






Hardware speech synthesizers convert text into electronic speech. The device must be

connected to a PC running a screen access software application.


DECtalk USB: This is an external speech synthesizer that connects to the computer via

the serial port. It requires and is supplied with specialized DEC-talk software that must be

loaded before the computer can communicate with this device. Access Solutions, Inc.

Price: $695.


DoubleTalk LT: An external speech synthesizer for Windows and some Macintosh

operating systems, this connects to a computer by using a serial port. RC Systems, Inc.

Price: $299.


TripleTalk PCI: This internal speech synthesizer plugs into a computer's PCI card slot.

It uses the same text-to-speech technology contained in the DoubleTalk line of speech

synthesizers. TripleTalk works with most popular screen access programs for Windows

and a few screen access programs for DOS. Access Solutions, Inc. Price: $395.


TripleTalk USB: This external speech synthesizer connects to the computer's USB port

and uses the same text-to-speech technology contained in the DoubleTalk line of

synthesizers. Access Solutions, Inc. Price: $495.




Software speech synthesizers use a multi-channel sound card to convert text to speech. Be

sure to verify which sound cards are most effective to run a particular software speech

synthesizer. In general, any multi-channel sound card that is commercially available

should be sufficient.


DECtalk Access32: This is speech synthesis software that produces speech through your

computer's sound card. The software is designed to run in the Windows environment and

is supported by the leading screen access programs for the blind. GW Micro, Inc. Price:



Since we are a library, it seemed only natural to include some info these as well:


Optical Character Recognition Systems


Optical character recognition (OCR) systems provide persons who are blind or visually

impaired with the capacity to scan printed text and then have it spoken in synthetic

speech or saved to a computer file. There are three essential elements to OCR

technology—scanning, recognition, and reading text.


Initially, a printed document is scanned by a camera. OCR software then converts the

images into recognized characters and words and creates temporary files containing the

text’s characters and page layout. The recognition process takes account of the logical

structure of the language. An OCR system will deduce that the word “tke” at the

beginning of a sentence is a mistake and should be read as the word “the.” OCR systems

also use a lexicon and apply spell-checking techniques similar to those found in many

word processors. The synthesizer in the OCR system then speaks the recognized text.

Finally, the information is stored in an electronic form. In some OCRs these temporary

files can be converted into formats retrievable by commonly used computer software

such as word processors, spreadsheets, and databases. A person who is blind or visually

impaired can access the scanned text by using adaptive technology devices that magnify

the computer screen or provide speech or braille output.


Current generation OCR systems provide very good accuracy and formatting

capabilities at prices that are up to ten times lower than a few years ago. The price for the

most popular PC-based OCR systems is about $1,000. This does not include the personal

computer and screen access equipment. Prices of self-contained OCR systems and those

that come bundled with a PC range from $3,500 to $5,500.


Here are some questions to ask when purchasing optical character recognition



• Do you prefer a stand-alone OCR product or a software-based product?

• Is the software-based OCR system compatible with your computer’s operating system?

• Do you require screen-reading capabilities in addition to the OCR?

• Do you require braille output?




Screen Access Programs


Top 3 Vendors List


While JAWS for Windows from Freedom Scientific appears to be the most well known

screen access program for the blind, we should call your attention to two other programs.

Each program has its own unique set of features. The decision as to which screen access

program to buy is based partly on the features which are important to you and partly on

the amount of money you have to spend. You should consult with the screen access

vendor to obtain the most current information about features and prices.


JAWS for Windows by Henter-Joyce, a division of Freedom Scientific, 11800

31st Court North, St. Petersburg, FL 33716-1805. Telephone: (800) 444-4443, (727)

803-8000; Fax: (727) 803-8001; E-mail: info@hj.com; Website:

http://www.freedomscientific.com. JAWS for Windows ($795) provides speech and

Braille access to Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Millenium. There is another

version of JAWS for Windows ($1,495) that provides access to Windows NT and

Windows 2000. JAWS for Windows is shipped with the Eloquence software speech

synthesizer, meaning that it can generate speech through your computer’s sound card.


Window-Eyes by GW Micro, 725 Airport North Office Park, Fort Wayne, IN

46825. Telephone: (219) 489-3671. Fax: (219) 489-2608. BBS: (219) 489-5281.

Website: http://www.gwmicro.com. Window-Eyes ($495) provides speech access to

Windows 95 and Windows 98 and, in the future, Braille access to these operating systems

and Windows Millenium.


OutSPOKEN for Windows by the Alva Access Group, Inc., 5801 Christie

Avenue, Suite 475, Emeryville, CA 94608. Telephone: (510) 923-6280. Website:

http://www.aagi.com. OutSPOKEN ($595) provides speech and Braille access to

Windows 95 and Windows 98.



Braille Devices






A refreshable Braille display is a device that produces Braille dot patterns by

electronically raising or lowering pins to display information printed on a computer

screen. In order to take advantage of the features of a refreshable Braille display, one

must have a screen access software application installed on a computing device. Be sure

the screen access software application supports the refreshable Braille display.



ALVA Delphi MultiMedia Braille Display: Two models are available. The 440,

portable and battery-operated has a 40-cell display plus 3 status cells. The desktop 480

has an 80-cell display plus 5 status cells. Both feature Double Touch Cursors (DTC).

These buttons can control Braille, speech, and mouse functions depending on the screen

access software being used. Both models include serial and parallel ports, a custom

backpack, DOS software, and all necessary cables and adapters. VisionCue, LLC. Prices,

440, $5,295; 480, $9,995.


ALVA Satellite: There are 4 models of this refreshable Braille display: the ALVA 544

Satellite (with a 40-cell display plus 4 status cells); Satellite Traveler 544 (with a 40-cell

display); the ALVA 570 Satellite Pro (with a 70-cell display); and the Satellite 584 Pro

(with an 84-cell Braille display). All models have an ergonomic design, twin satellite

keypads flanking the Braille cell array for direct control of speech and Windows

functions, USB ports, double-touch sensors, user-definable status cells, an internal power

supply, and a fitted case. The Satellite 544 can operate on its internal power supply or 10

AA batteries for portability. Screen access software is required for proper operation of

these displays. VisionCue, LLC. Prices: 544 Satellite, $6,295; Satellite Traveler 544,

$5,995; 570 Satellite Pro, $9,995; Satellite 584 Pro, $10,495.


ALVA ABT3 Series: The ABT320 is a 23-cell Braille display, 20-cells are used for text,

and the other three are status cells. The ABT320 connects with a parallel or serial cable.

It is also used as the Braille display for deaf-blind TTY equipment. VisionCue, LLC.

Price: $3,695.


Braille Star 40, Braille Star 80: A 40-cell or 80-cell portable refreshable Braille display

that can be used as a notetaker or in conjunction with a computer through a USB or serial

cable connection. Text information can be stored in the unit or transferred to a computer.

Navigation buttons are located to the left and right sides of the display, and routing

switches are above each cell. A carrying case is provided. Operates approximately 20

hours on 4 user-replaceable batteries or AC power. HumanWare. Price: 40-cells, $5,995;

80-cells, $10,995.


Braillex EL 2D Series: Two features distinguish this line of refreshable Braille displays

from other Braille displays: the Easy Access Bar and the vertical Braille display. The

Easy Access Bar is essentially a long lever that allows the user to navigate the screen

without removing hands from the Braille display. The vertical Braille display is used to

provide tactile information about the structure of lists and menus displayed on the screen

-essentially, a quick and easy double display that allows the user to select an item

without removing either hand from the Braille display. The Braillex EL 2D models are

numbered to reflect the number of Braille cells in the display. Manufactured by

Papenmeier of Germany, distributed in the U.S. by Sighted Electronics, Inc. Price: EL

2D 66, $9,900; EL 2D 80, $14,075.


Braillex EL Series: This line of refreshable Braille displays is similar to the EL 2D line

(see above) except that the vertical Braille display is not present. Model numbers reflect

the number of Braille cells available. Manufactured by Papenmeier of Germany,

available in the United States from Sighted Electronics, Inc. Price: Braillex EL 40S

(slim), $5,900; Braillex EL 66S (slim/large), $9,900; Braillex EL 80S (slim), $14,075.


Braillex EL 40s: The Braillex EL 40S (slim) is a 40-cell Braille display housed in an

aluminum magnesium case, weighing less than two pounds. This display is connected to

a computer with a USB cable, and does not need batteries or a separate power supply.

Manufactured by Papenmeier of Germany, available in the United States from Sighted

Electronics, Inc. Price: $5,900.


Brailliant: This lightweight portable Braille display connects via USB, and has Bluetooth

capability. It can be charged through the AC power adaptor, or through the USB

connection to a computer. There are three vertical navigation buttons on both sides of the

unit, and cursor routing buttons above each cell. Model numbers denote the number of

Braille cells. HumanWare. Price: List price includes Window-Eyes from GW Micro, Inc.

Brailliant 24, $3,795, Brailliant 32, $4,795, Brailliant 40, $5,995, Brailliant 64, $8,595,

Brailliant 80, $10,995.


Focus Braille Displays: These displays come in two sizes: 40-cells, and 80-cells. Both

require a Windows screen access program such as JAWS for Windows. The built-in

Whiz Wheels provide a unique way of navigating through a document. Its slimline case

allows the display to be placed very close to the computer's keyboard. With the

appropriate screen access software, the user can determine the location of up to 4 Braille

status cells on the display, control the firmness of dots, and program the function of all

buttons on the display. Both USB and serial connections to the computer are supported.

Two audio inputs and one audio output support simultaneous connections with the

computer and the telephone. Freedom Scientific. Price: Focus 40, $3,495; and Focus 80,



PAC Mate Portable Braille Display: This display is available in 20-and 40-cell models.

It can be used with desktops and laptops when connected with a USB port. It has a pair of

three-way Whiz Wheels for rapid navigation and dual-purpose cursor routing buttons.

Programmable hot keys can be used when the display is attached to a Windows or

Windows CE operating environment. The built-in VariBraille allows the user to adjust

the intensity of the Braille dots. Freedom Scientific. Price: 20-cells, $1,400; 40-cells,





Braille translation software converts electronic files into Braille. At the date of this

publication, Braille translation software is available for the Windows and DOS operating

systems, and older versions of OSX for Apple computers.


Braille2000: This software is a family of Braille translation software. The student version

is the simplest, and the Document Processing Edition is the most powerful. Users can

"subscribe," paying a monthly fee for the various products, purchase a "Budget" package

with limited support, or purchase a "Premium" version with unlimited support. Computer

Application Specialties Company. Pricing chart, in this order: Product name,

Subscription cost, Budget edition, Premium edition. Braille2000: The Student Edition:

$11; $269; $339. Option: Instructor-controlled G2 Interpreter: $1; $30; $40.

Braille2000: The Direct Entry Edition: $16; $499; $619. Option: Children's Braille

Grade Relaxer: $3; $99; $119. Braille2000: The Document Processing Edition: $24;

$789; $949.


Duxbury Braille Translator: This Braille translation software supports a wide range of

embossers, multiple languages and systems under Windows, DOS, Macintosh, and a

number of mini and mainframe computers. It supports conversion of documents from

popular word processing applications such as Microsoft Word and Word Perfect. It has

extensive formatting capability including use of Styles. Options include translation to

contracted and uncontracted Braille, computer code, and the use of math codes. Duxbury

Systems. Price: Duxbury for Windows, $595; Duxbury for the Macintosh, $595; call for

pricing of other operating systems.


MegaDots: This DOS-based program is a combination Braille translator and word

processor. It imports and exports many file types including HTML and uses "Braille

styles" to format. It also includes a spell checker, which can correct common errors that

occur in scanned text. Duxbury Systems. Price: $595. Complete MegaDots includes a

customizable Braille translation option called Beginner Braille and MegaMath, $895.


NFBTrans: This DOS-based program, developed by the National Federation of the

Blind, is a Braille translation system for ASCII text files. In 1992 the source code was

released to the public domain and has since been modified. Foreign language versions are

also available. Available from the National Federation of the Blind at

http://www.nfb.org/nfbtrans.htm. Price: free.


WinBraille: This program is designed to emboss and translate into contracted Braille

directly from a Windows application to the Index line of Braille embossers. This is not a

generic Braille translation package. It works exclusively with the Index line of

embossers. Sighted Electronics. Price: Free with the purchase of an Index embosser.




These embossers have the ability to produce Braille on small single page documents up

to large magazine and book style production documents. In order to produce Braille, you

must have Braille translation software to convert an electronic document into Braille

before the document can be embossed.


Note: Printing speeds, given as characters per second (CPS), are as reported by the



Bookmaker Braille Printer (also called Braille Bookmaker): This is a 50 pound

portable or desktop, 80 CPS, interpoint Braille printer with built-in ET Speaks speech

synthesizer, and a 512K-text buffer. The menus are spoken, and the printer can be used as

an external speech synthesizer. Enabling Technologies Company. Price: $8,995.


Braille Express: This printer is available in two speeds: 100 CPS or 150 CPS. Weighing

50 pounds, the Braille Express is an interpoint Braille printer similar in design to the

Braille Bookmaker. The Braille Express is shipped with ET Speaks speech included.

Enabling Technologies Company. Price: 100 CPS, $10,995; 150 CPS, $15,995.


BraillePlace: This is the fastest Braille embosser made by Enabling Technologies. Rated

by the vendor at nearly 300 CPS for a 45-character line of standard Braille, this interpoint


Braille embosser is designed to be a rugged, high capacity embosser. Serial and parallel

connections to the computer are supported, and speech is built in. The BraillePlace can

produce Braille of varying sizes; from jumbo Braille to petite, and it can generate regular

and high resolution Braille graphics. It requires a 220/240-volt electric line for power.

Enabling Technologies Company. Price: $36,995.


Braillo: Braillo interpoint printers emboss from 200 CPS to 400 CPS, depending on the

model selected. Four models are available: the Braillo 200, the Braillo 400S, the Braillo

400SR, and the Braillo 400SW. Models 200 and 400S are tractor-feed printers; models

400SR and 400SW print on a continuous roll of paper. The Braillo 200 embosses at 200

CPS, and the Braillo 400S and 400SR both emboss at 400 CPS. Manufactured by Braillo

Norway and distributed by the American Thermoform Corporation. Price: Braillo 200,

$39,995; Braillo 400S, $82,000; Braillo 400SR, $92,000; and Braillo 400SW, $95,000.


Dot & Print Braille Embosser and Print Printer: This Braille and print printer weighs

55 pounds and produces standard medium-sized Braille, along with print that can be

scaled. It is controlled with its own software that produces only uncontracted Braille

translation using a plain text file. In order to get contracted Braille translation, one must

use the DBT Win application to create DXP and DXB files. These files are then imported

into the Dot & Print software application in order to produce both Braille and print. The

Dot & Print produces between 27 and 40 characters per line. American Thermoform

Corporation. Price: $5,795.


4 Wave Professional: This production Braille embosser prints 1,000 pages or 300 CPS.

Weighing 339 pounds, this embosser uses four individual module units to emboss single

or double-sided Braille on continuous tractor-feed paper. It connects to the PC via USB,

TCPIP, or parallel ports. Sighted Electronics, Inc. Price: $34,000.


ET Braille Printer: This interpoint embosser is rated at 60 CPS. It has low-and high-

resolution graphics, weighs 51 pounds, and has a portable desktop case. Enabling

Technologies Company. Price: $3,790.


Gemini Print & Braille Embosser: The Gemini Print and Braille Embosser is a very

quiet single-sided embosser producing print with Braille in one simultaneous pass. The

Gemini uses Braille tractor paper, and you can choose regular print or large print with

Braille, or Braille alone. The Braille embossing speed is 32 CPS. The maximum Braille

line length is 32 characters. Printing is done with a 24-by-24 dot matrix printer that can

print a maximum of 92 print characters (at 10 CPI) per line. Manufactured by Nippon

Telesoft, Co. Ltd. (Japan). Sold in the U.S. by Enabling Technologies Company. Price:



Index Basic D: This compact interpoint embosser uses tractor-feed paper and prints at an

approximate speed of 120 CPS or 340 pages per hour. This embosser has the ability to

switch between interpoint and single-sided embossing at the touch of a button. It has

Braille and print labels on the front panel, plus speech output, Ethernet, USB, serial and

parallel ports. Sighted Electronics, Inc. Price: $3,745.


Index Basic S: This embosser, nearly identical to the Index Basic D, produces one-sided

Braille on tractor-feed paper at approximately 60 CPS or 170 pages per hour. Sighted

Electronics, Inc. Price: $2,895.


Index Everest: This sturdy 30-pound desktop model is a high speed, 340 pages per hour,

91 CPS, interpoint Braille embosser for normal cut-sheet paper. It has a Braille-and

print-labeled front panel, speech feedback, a 512K-text buffer, and 2 options for cabinets

to cut down on the noise of embossing Braille. Sighted Electronics, Inc. Price: $4,395;

basic acoustic cabinet, $895; sound-deadening acoustic hood, $695.


Index 4x4 Professional, 17-inch and 23-inch: The Index 4x4 PRO is a heavy-duty

production interpoint Braille embosser for magazines or books in saddle-stitch binding

format. Depending on the paper size, this printer can create material with a page size of

8½-by-11 or 11-by-11½-inches. It automatically reformats text into a magazine format

and holds up to 200 Braille pages in memory. This embosser can use ordinary card stock

paper. It comes with its own sound enclosure. Sighted Electronics, Inc. Price: 17-inch

version, $8,070; 23-inch version, $8,400.


Interpoint 55: Rated at 800 CPS, this interpoint high-speed embosser prints on a

continuous roll of paper. It can also print sideways in magazine-style with double pages.


N.V. Interpoint of Belgium. Price: $62,500 (includes: transportation, insurance, startup

and instruction of operators).

Juliet Classic Braille Printer: This is an interpoint embosser weighing 51 pounds in a

desktop case. It is rated at 55 CPS when set for 56 characters per line (CPL) or 42 CPS

when set at 42 CPL (a standard setting for Braille paper). Enabling Technologies

Company. Price: $3,795.


Juliet Pro Braille Printer and Juliet Pro 60: The Juliet Pro prints at 55 CPS when using

56 CPL or 42 CPS at the standard Braille page line length of 42 CPL. The Juliet Pro 60

can print at 60 CPS when set to 40 CPL. Both printers are interpoint, weigh 51 pounds,

have low-and high-resolution graphics capability, a desktop case, single-sheet or tractor-

feed capability, and ET Speaks speech system (speaking printer settings as you enter

them). The Juliet Pro can print on wider paper (56 CPL) whereas the Juliet Pro 60 cannot.

Enabling Technologies Company. Price: both models, $4,095.


KGS Braille Labeler: The KGS Braille labeler allows sighted people with no knowledge

of Braille to make uncontracted Braille labels having up to 7, 15, or 25 characters. Labels

are embossed on plastic strips that have a peel-off backing. This device is not usable by

the blind. Sold by Enabling Technologies Company. Price: $995.


Marathon Brailler: High-speed, 200 CPS, single-sided Braille embosser. The Marathon

Brailler weighs 75 pounds and has its own aluminum case. Enabling Technologies

Company. Price: $14,995.


Paragon Braille Embosser: This single-sided tractor-feed Braille embosser prints 40

CPS and can accommodate a variety of paper sizes and weights. HumanWare. Price:

$3,295; optional single-sheet feeder, $300.


Romeo Attaché and Attaché Pro: Both small single-sided printers print at 15 CPS on

8.5-by-11 inch paper. The printers weigh less than 17 pounds, and can be carried in an

optional carrying case. Three different computer connections are available: Centronics

parallel, serial, and USB. The Pro version includes single-sheet tractors and the ET

Speaks speech system. Enabling Technologies Company. Price: Romeo Attaché, $1,895;

Attaché Pro, $1,995; optional carrying case, $94.95.


Romeo Braille Printers RB25 and Pro 50: Rugged single-sided Braille embossers that

print at 25 CPS and 50 CPS, respectively, weigh 32 pounds, and have a hard plastic carry

case. The Romeo Pro 50 includes single-sheet tractors and the ET Speaks speech system.

Enabling Technologies Company. Price: RB25, $2,195; Pro 50, $2,895.


Thomas Braille Printer: This 51 pound, single-sided, 40 CPS desktop printer is

physically designed like the Juliet line of Braille embossers and comes with a desktop-

style case. Enabling Technologies Company. Price: $3,295; single sheet tractors, $200;

ET Speaks, $100.


TranSend LT: This system can produce Braille and print on the same page. The

company bundles one of its embossers (your choice) with an Epson dot matrix printer and

a TranSend control box. A document is run through the ink printer first (producing

standard or large print) and then run through the embosser to add the Braille. Enabling

Technologies Company. Price, depending on which embosser you choose: a complete

package (including the TranSend control box, an Epson printer, a Braille embosser, and

suitable Braille translation software) will cost approximately $4,600; the TranSend LT

control unit alone is $1,395. The price range is from $1,395 to $17,800, depending on the

products you choose.



Headphones / Microphones


Product ID: 10700 Category: WIRED-HEADSET-



VXI Parrott TalkPro Microphone

Description: The Parrott TalkPro Headset System is an

advanced version of VXI’s highly successful VXI Parrott 10-


3. The Parrott 10-3 set the standard worldwide for outstanding

sound clarity and accuracy in use with Dragon System's

Naturally Speaking and IBM's ViaVoice speech recognition

software programs.

Price: $74.00




Product ID: 10663 Category: WIRED-HEADSET-



H91N Monaural Encore® Noise-canceling Headset

Description: Featuring a unique Sound Enhancement

System™ (SES), Encore headset users have the option, at the

flick of a switch on the headset, to listen to the caller's normal

telephone voice or to adjust the sound for a fuller, richer tone.

Encore headsets provide a perfect acoustical fit, adjustable

headband, and soft ear cushions for optimum comfort,

stability, and fit.Click on the image on the left to learn more...

Price: $150.00





Product ID: 10664 Category: WIRED-HEADSET-



plantronics Supra™ cat 51VR Headset

Description: Used along with the Plantronics Headset

Switcher™ Multimedia Amplifier, the CAT51VR is ideal

for telephony and computer applications. It features our

convenient Quick Disconnect™ -which allows users to

move away from their telephone and computer without

disconnecting the call or removing their headset. The

Switcher multimedia amplifier connects the SupraVR

headset (Model CAT51VR) to the telephone and an

external audio device. Click on the image on the left to

learn more...

Price: $130.00


Product ID: 10658 Category: WIRED-HEADSET-



VXI Parrott TalkPro MAX 2 Headset

Description: The VXI Parrott TalkPro MAX 2 Headset

System offers the user comfort and ease in full stereo sound.

In addition, the VXI Parrott TalkPro MAX 2 Headset provides

CD quality playback and the highest in voice recognition

clarity. The VXI Parrott TalkPro MAX 2 Headset utilizes

VXI’s noise-canceling microphone to block out unwanted

noise and provide greater audio clarity.

Price: $86.90


Product ID: 10645 Category: USB-HEADSET-



DSP-100 Digitally-Enhanced USB Speech Recognition

Headset & Software

Description: Plantronics’ DSP-100 digitally-enhanced USB

headset for accurate speech recognition, unmatched clarity

and ultimate comfort. A perfect choice for Internet

telephony/chat, voice and speech recognition applications.

The noise-canceling microphone enhances speech accuracy.

Packaged with Plantronics’ PerSono™ Audio Control Center

Software, as well as leading speech recognition and voice

applications. Click on the image on the left to learn more...

Price: $89.95



Product ID: 10646 Category: USB-HEADSET-



DSP-300 Digitally-Enhanced USB Lightweight Stereo

Headset & Software

Description: Plantronics’ DSP-300 digitally-enhanced

lightweight stereo headset with full-range stereo sound.

Perfect for all of your multimedia applications. Listen to CDs,

DVDs, or MP3s in high quality stereo sound. The noise-

canceling microphone enhances speech accuracy. Packaged

with Plantronics’ PerSono™ Audio Control Center Software

plus leading speech recognition and voice applications.Click

on the image on the left to learn more...

Price: $109.95

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