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Electronic Notetakers and Accessible PDAs

Basic Facts About Notetakers and Accessible PDAs

People without vision loss can take advantage of various types of personal data assistant (PDA) devices.  Most are not useable by persons who are blind or visually impaired.

An electronic notetaker which may have a Braille or a Qwerty type keyboard is basically an adapted PDA device. Users can do the same type of tasks that a typical PDA system allows.  These activities can include:

  • Taking notes
  • Allowing for print or Braille output of input
  • Reading e-mail
  • Calculating math
  • Setting a timer
  • Creating calendar events
  • Playing music or digital books
  • Uploading or downloading information from a computer
  • Playing accessible games

Because the electronic notetakers are adapted for persons who are blind or visually impaired they have built in speech output. Users who have hearing impairments as well as vision loss or learn better by reading Braille can purchase an electronic notetaker that has a refreshable Braille display.  In fact, some electronic notetakers that have a refreshable Braille display can be attached to a computer and be used as the refreshable Braille display for the computer.

Maestro, an accessible PDA, uses a text-to-speech technology adapted application and a tactile keyboard membrane over the PDA's touch screen.  It is compact and provides essential functions through text and vocal means.

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