What is electronic braille?

Electronic braille is produced using an electronic braille display. They are also known as paperless, soft or refreshable braille displays. Braille displays work with a screen reader. The device is placed underneath a computer keyboard and enables the user to read what's on the computer screen by touch in braille. They vary in size from 12 to 80 braille cells.

Each cell has 6 or 8 pins made of metal or nylon, which are electronically controlled to move up and down, to display a braille version of the characters that appear on screen. The seventh and eighth dots can show additional information like formatting or the location of the cursor.

Above each cell is a touch cursor which can be used to move the cursor to different locations. This means you can be reading some text, notice a spelling mistake, and move the cursor to the mistake before moving your hands to the keyboard to correct it.

The displays have additional controls which can be used to move around the screen, reading whichever part you wish, and this reduces the need to keep switching back and forth between the display (for reading) and the keyboard (for everything else).

Braille can provide layout information more efficiently and users find braille displays to be more accurate. 

For more information and advice about electronic braille displays please contact our Helpline:

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