Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Plug and Braille

This development is a very happy thing for me, as I have wondered at the effectivness of the Accessible Anywhere Braille Display petition. This shows me that those of us who love Braille and want it to expand are having an impact. I congratulate Handy Tech on giving tangible evidence that they wish to provide their customers with high quality products that are not limited to their closed platforms, but accessible anywhere.

Plug and Braille with Handy Tech Easy Braille!
On December 11, 2008, Serotek announced via the Serotek blog their endorsement of the Accessibility Anywhere Based Braille Display petition to Braille display manufacturers created and written by George McDermith. This petition urges Braille display manufacturers to do-away with proprietary drivers and instead use standard, mainstream technologies that will drive these devices regardless of the screen reader being used.

As an avid Braille reader myself, I am proud to be a signer of this petition. We at Handy Tech North America support Mr. McDermith's efforts with respect to this matter and in order to demonstrate our commitment to the cause, we are pleased to announce the Handy Tech Plug and Braille initiative with the introduction of Easy Braille with HID support.

HID stands for Human Interface Device and is the open standard for plug and play devices such as keyboards and mice. The HID protocol requires no separate software installations in order for these devices to work. Now Braille readers can simply plug-in their Handy Tech Easy Braille with HID support and gain immediate Braille access regardless of their chosen screen reader.

Although Easy Braille with HID support has been several months in the making prior to Mr. McDermith's petition, his timing is perfect as it affords Handy Tech the opportunity to demonstrate that we are once again on the leading edge when it comes to giving customers the tools they need when they need them.

For over a year now, Handy Tech customers have enjoyed the ability to walk up to one of millions of Apple computers and gain immediate grade two Braille access simply by plugging in their Handy Tech Braille display. Handy Tech is pleased to now offer the same freedom of access on the Microsoft Windows side or on any other platform that supports the HID protocol.

Combine this new Plug and Braille development with the high quality and ergonomic design for which Handy Tech products are known worldwide, and enjoy a flexible and reliable Braille solution for many years to come in the Handy Tech Easy Braille.

"I don't believe that people should be penalized because of the screen reader they use," says Sigi Kipke, Managing Director of Handy Tech GmbH in Horb, Germany, the manufacturers of Handy Tech Braille products. Kipke further stresses the importance of access to portable electronic Braille by stating that Braille products should not be viewed as some obscure technology used by just a few blind people, rather it should be viewed as a progressive and innovative technology that gives Braille readers the same advantages and opportunities as print readers.

Although Easy Braille with HID support is slated for release in May of 2009, Handy Tech representatives from both European and North American offices will be demonstrating this exciting new development at this year's California State University Northridge Center on Disabilities 24th Annual Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, otherwise known as CSUN.

Please join us in the exhibit hall at booth 302 of the Marriott LAX hotel where we will be enthusiastically demonstrating the following products:

Easy Braille with new HID support.
The new Handy Tech Braille driver for Nuance Talks which allows for the input of grade two Braille among other things.
The powerful netbook computer and Braille display options available from Handy Tech North America which does away with the out-dated notion that technology for blind people must be based on a closed and proprietary platform.
Last but not least, the latest developments around the exciting Active Tactile Control (ATC) technologies that actually senses the user's fingers on the Braille display and responds accordingly based on reading behaviors. This ground breaking technology is useful for Braille readers of all skill levels.

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