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Take note: the BrailleNote Apex

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December 1, 2009

The BrailleNote Apex from HumanWare takes advantage of communications technologies and mak...

The BrailleNote Apex from HumanWare takes advantage of communications technologies and makes them available to blind people

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When you’re busy working or studying, it’s important to maximize the available technology for productivity, accuracy and even comfort. But for blind people, not all technology is easily adaptable. The new BrailleNote Apex from HumanWare has been designed to enhance the reading and writing experience of blind people with improvements over previous models in connectivity, design and ergonomics.

The first BrailleNotes were created in 2000 to assist blind people with their digital communications requirements. Since then, HumanWare says it has been constantly evolving its products to meet the growing needs of blind people living in a tech-savvy world.

The company says that advanced productivity as well as reading in total comfort are at the heart of all its note-taking products.

The new BrailleNote Apex is the thinnest and lightest Braille note-taker and has KeySoft applications for real-time communications. It runs a Windows CE 6 operating system, has enhanced support for large documents and media files, a Plug and play visual display and a user-replaceable battery.

The Apex allows owners to utilize the BrailleNote's keyboard to input Braille or navigate with their computer screen reader using the Braille Terminal Mode. The layout is designed for maximum comfort during extended reading and writing tasks, hence its full-size Braille keyboard and signature thumb keys which enable navigation by line, sentence or paragraph, and a newly-designed scroll wheel that allows for improved navigation in menus, documents and e-mail lists.

An extensive set of shortcut commands allows users to instantly access any desired feature and context-sensitive "help" is always available when users need to remember a command. One-key touch accesses the Main Menu and Online Help also exists.

Each unit accepts wireless accessories like keyboards, a wireless earphone or your mobile phone using the improved Bluetooth manager. Printers, embossers, Flash drives and more are connected via the three USB ports.

The BrailleNote Apex has 8GB of internal memory and various portable storage options, including support for high-capacity SDHC cards. It offers stereo sound for playing back recordings, listening to audio books and music, interviews, news, etc., and a Voice Memos function provides recording of lectures or class notes and then plays them back with a single key press.

The Apex allows users to translate between any grade of Braille and text formats including Microsoft Word, then print or emboss any document or attach it to an e-mail, while the book reader narrates books from Bookshare, RFB&D, Audible and numerous other sources.

Finally, the unit is easily transportable, weighing only 1.8lbs (812g). HumanWare says the Apex will ship this month but pricing hasn't yet been confirmed.

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