Sunday, November 28, 2010

NatCapVidMo Day 28: Refreshabraille 18 on the iPod

Mike Paciello tipped me off to this video today on Twitter. It's about how to use a Refreshable Braille Display (The APH Refreshabraille 18) with an iPod Touch or iPhone. I don't have any of these devices; my phone is a Blackberry 8330, my mp3 player is a Toshiba Gigabeat F, and I don't know braille, though I'm certainly very open to providing CART for someone who uses a refreshable braille display. I really liked getting an inside look on both the display itself and the iPod's VoiceOver interface (which I had heard about but had never seen in action), and I was extremely impressed by Chase's facility with the interface and clear way of describing everything he was doing. Below I've attached a transcript of the video, because I'm not sure how accessible Universal Subtitle's "download subtitles" interface is for deaf-blind people using braille displays or screen readers. This also reminded me to attach a transcript to my post for Day 16, Out of Sight (with Audio Description).


CHASE: Hi, this is Chase again. And today I want to show you how to pair a Refreshabraille 18 with the iPod Touch or iPhone running iOS4. As you might know, the Refreshabraille 18 can only connect with the iPod Touch or iPhone via Bluetooth, as they do not have a USB port. And I have an iPod Touch here, which is already on, so what we need to do next is to turn the Refreshabraille on. I will hold down the power button. (cells vibrating) And you heard the cells vibrate. And now we see my display's name. Now, by default, Bluetooth is automatically turned on, so we don't need to do anything to enable Bluetooth. What we need to do to get braille working on the iPod touch is to go to settings, so I'll tap my touchscreen near settings.

iPOD: Page one of three, iTunes. Settings.

CHASE: I did that by flicking left. I'll double tap here.

iPOD: Settings, settings, music, button.

CHASE: And now my cursor was placed on the music item in settings. But I'll flick left.

iPOD: General, button.

CHASE: And that's general, which is where we need to go. I double tapped.

iPOD: General, settings, back button.

CHASE: And now we need to go to accessibility, which is where you can set all of the iPod and iPhones' accessibility features.

iPOD: General, restrictions, up, date and time, keyboard, international, accessibility, reset, accessibility, button.

CHASE: Now, what I did to get to accessibility was I touched near the bottom of the screen, and then flicked right 'til I got to accessibility. Now I'll double tap.

iPOD: Accessibility, general, back button. Accessibility. VoiceOver, on, button.

CHASE: Now we need to go into VoiceOver. VoiceOver, if you do not know, is the built-in screenreader on these devices, and that is what the Refreshabraille 18 will connect with.

iPOD: Zoom, off, button.

CHASE: But we also have things like the monaural audio and the magnifier, called Zoom.

iPOD: VoiceOver, on, button.

CHASE: But we'll go into VoiceOver, by double tapping.

iPOD: VoiceOver, accessibility, back button.

CHASE: And now we'll need to flick right 'til we get to braille.

iPOD: VoiceOver, VoiceOver, VoiceOver speaks items, to select, to activate the selected item, double tap, to scroll, flick three fingers, practice VoiceOver gestures, button, speak hints, off, speaking rate, 22%, typing feedback, words, use phonetics, on, use pitch change, off, braille, button.

CHASE: And there's the braille button. We'll double tap.

iPOD: Alert, Bluetooth is turned off. Bluetooth is required to use a braille device. Would you like to turn on Bluetooth? Bluetooth is turned off.

CHASE: And now we need to turn on Bluetooth. You don't need to enable Bluetooth before you get into the braille setings, as, as you heard, it informs me that Bluetooth is turned off.

iPOD: Bluetooth is required to -- cancel -- okay.

CHASE: I'll double tap okay, which will open the braille settings and turn on Bluetooth.

iPOD: Braille, VoiceOver, back button.

CHASE: And now we'll have some braille settings, as well as the displays that are in range of the iPod.

iPOD: Braille, contracted braille, on.

CHASE: That is to show Grade 2 braille. I have turned that on.

iPOD: Status cell, off.

CHASE: Status cell is off.

iPOD: Choose a braille device. Refreshabraille chase. Not paired, button.

CHASE: Now, the iPod's searched for my Refreshabraille, which is called Refreshabraille chase, as I have named my display "chase". And it has already found it. What we need to do to pair it is to double tap.

iPOD: Refreshabraille chase. Refreshabraille, Refreshabraille chase, PIN, secure, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4. PIN, 1, done, button, done, end, braille, VoiceOver, back button.

CHASE: My display just went blank, and now we see VoiceOver, back, and then if I pan to the right, BTN, which stands for button. Now, I want to explain what I did when it asked for the pairing code. You only have a certain amount of seconds to pair this and put in that code, so I did that before I discussed it, so I'd have enough time. The PIN code, or personal identification... This code allows you to securely connect to your Refreshabraille 18. By default, the Refreshabraille 18's PIN code is 1234. So I typed that in, and then pressed the "done" button. So now we have braille. Now, what I want to do is to go to the practice VoiceOver gestures, which is in the VoiceOver settings. So I'll flick to the left, until I get to the VoiceOver back button.

iPOD: VoiceOver, accessibility.

CHASE: And now we're back in the VoiceOver settings screen.

iPOD: Back button, VoiceOver, VoiceOver, on. VoiceOver speaks items on the screen. To select an item, touch it.

CHASE: Now on the braille display I can use the joystick to flick right, by pushing it to the right.

iPOD: To activate the selected item, double tap. To scroll, flick three fingers. Practice VoiceOver gestures, button.

CHASE: Now, this is what I want. I can either double tap on the touch screen or press down on the joystick. I pressed down on the joystick.

iPOD: Practice gestures.

CHASE: And I'll touch on the screen.

iPOD: Practice VoiceOver gestures in this area. Select the done button in the top right corner and double tap to exit.

CHASE: Now we can do gestures on the screen, like...

iPOD: Rotate clockwise. Select next rotor setting.

CHASE: Or, on the display, we can press any of the display keys, like...

iPOD: Joystick pressed. Activates the selected item.

CHASE: Or... I'm panning to the right, and it's showing what it just said, but if I get to the end...

iPOD: Pan braille to the right.

CHASE: That's the pan braille to the right. But you can also use chorded commands. That is, letters and symbols, with the space bar. And they'll tell us what they do. So H-Chord, for example...

iPOD: Dot-1, Dot-2, Dot-5, space bar. Activates the home button. Practice VoiceOver gestures in this area.

CHASE: Or...

iPOD: Select the done button in the top right corner and double tap to exit.

CHASE: Or, if I press E-Chord...

iPOD: Dot-1, Dot-5, spacebar. Activates the return key.

CHASE: Activates the return key. Now, I'll go ahead and get out of this.

iPOD: Done, button. 20% battery... Practice VoiceOver gestures in this area.

CHASE: Now, I touched too high.

iPOD: Select the done button in the top right corner and double tap to exit.

CHASE: I tapped too high on the screen, so I got into the status bar. So...

iPOD: 20%... Practice VoiceOver, done, button.

CHASE: There's the done button. I'll double tap. And we're back in settings.

iPOD: VoiceOver, accessibility, back button.

CHASE: Now I'll press H-Chord to get to the home screen, or I could press the home button on the iPod.

iPOD: Home, settings.

CHASE: And we'll see... Home, settings, on the braille display. Now, what I want to show you is... We can go to an application, for example, Notes, that allows you to input text and use the Refreshabraille 18's braille keyboard to type.

iPOD: Calculator, Clock, Notes.

CHASE: There's Notes. I used the joystick left function to get to that. I'll press down on the joystick to open Notes.

iPOD: Notes, new note, text field, is editing, character mode.

CHASE: And we're automatically placed into the new note field. So if I type "this is a test" in grade 2 braille...

iPOD: This... Is... A...

CHASE: This is a test. And it didn't speak the last word because I put a period and then a space. I kind of interrupted it. But I have "This is a test" in grade 2 braille. But if you typed in, in an email, for example, in grade 2 braille, and you sent it, that email would be translated into regular text, so you can type in any text fields on the iPod using the Refreshabraille 18's keypad. I'll now return to the home screen with H-Chord.

iPOD: Home, Notes.

CHASE: That is all that I want to show you. I'll be back in a future video, talking more about connecting the Refreshabraille 18 with other devices.


  1. Hi,

    As you know, I am visually impaired and I actually use large print. I actually use CART as I am unable to take my own notes and do not like the UK version of Typewell and C-Print. I'd be interested in seeing how I use CART remotely. I am a member of CCAC and have my free hour still to use - do you still have yours? Maybe we could try it out?


  2. Hi! I haven't yet used up my CCAC hour for this year, so I'd be happy to give you a free hour-long demonstration of CART. Just let me know when! I'd use a service called StreamText, which allows you to customize the font, font size, and font color to your preferences. I can receive audio via Google Chat, Skype, and most other common sources. Email me at with an idea of when you'd like to do it. I'm busy most weekdays until 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, but I have evenings and weekends largely free.