Unmute Presents At Your Fingertips: Braille business cards, Post-it notes, and displays

In this episode of At Your Fingertips, Braille Then and Now Chris delves into the significance of Braille accessibility through exploration of Braille business cards and innovative products. Insights are shared on finding Braille business cards via platforms like Etsy and the Braille Superstore, underlining their affordability and accessibility for visually impaired individuals. Unique Braille products, such as Tandem Designs Company’s Braille post-it notes, are highlighted for their mission of inclusivity and accessibility. Advanced Braille displays like the Braille Pen and Active Braille 40 are also discussed, showcasing the evolving landscape of Braille technology. The aim is to raise awareness and promote inclusivity for visually impaired individuals in the realm of Braille innovation and accessibility.


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Hey, it’s Michael here from Unmute presents the podcast for all things technology, and.

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Hi everyone. Welcome back to at your fingertips Braille, then and now. This is episode three for April 2024. I’m excited to bring you some really helpful, everyday ideas for Braille, as well as some some knowledge about new braille displays that are out there and units that I saw at the CSUN Assistive tech conference. It’s so cool to be able to examine those devices and get your hands on them and see what makes them different and what sets them apart from others on the market already. But first, I want to talk to you about something really simple. Braille business cards. It was so cool to walk up to a booth and be handed a business card and to feel it and to notice that there was braille on almost every one of them was so excited. It’s one thing to be accessible and another thing to be immediately accessible. So I was delighted that they took the time, care, and effort to hand me a braille business card. And I thought, I wonder where you can find braille business cards. If you have a small business and whether you read braille or not, you might want to consider your market and whether those folks would really like a braille business card. So I thought I would just start by looking up braille business cards. So it’s not so easy. There are a lot of ads and opportunities to go down rabbit trails, but I did find some interesting offerings on etsy. They’re a little bit expensive. They have raised Inc. And you can spend $115 and get 200 business cards. Now, I think that some companies did have this raised ink, because when I felt it, it felt like the braille was sort of painted on or blasted on or sprayed on, something like that. The dots were very smooth. You couldn’t really pick them off or anything, but they were definitely not embossed by an embosser. But it was kind of cool and it was very readable. And so I’m thinking that this embossed ink is kind of what some companies went with. I would have to say that most of them were probably regularly embossed by a company that actually uses a braille embosser. But interestingly enough, these raised ink ones were smooth and they were easy to read and you knew it was raised ink because you couldn’t feel anything on the other side. And so checking Etsy would be one possibility, though they’re going to be more expensive because, you know, that’s kind of an indie, you know, designer store kind of thing. The next place that I went to was the braille superstore. And I really love this company. I pretty sure they’re based out of Canada and they have so many great offerings, but one of them is really inexpensive business cards and they’re willing to work with you if you don’t read Braille or your company isn’t sure what to put on the card because you can get four lines of, I believe, 13 characters. And so you kind of have to save space and spend your characters wisely, basically, and decide what is most important to put on the card. And so they their price point is $60 for 200 cards, which is absolutely fantastic, and $83 flat price for 500 cards. You can even call them to discuss the business card that you’re wanting to have braille, or you can order online and their website is braillebookstore.com slash well that’s the regular site and then slash Braille business cards. So that’s lead you right to the page where they would give you their options for braille business cards. The other place that you can go. And I realize these are in this. This one is in the states here at the National Braille press nbp.org. You would find their offerings for getting a quote for business cards always makes you nervous when I read get a quote for business cards because that either means there are too many of them or they cost too much, but I’m sure that they’re very high quality and they’re used to doing b two b or business to business type of interactions. So getting a braille business card was just awesome and I really loved it and appreciated it. The next thing that I wanted to share with you is a cool interview that is just a short, little, short little snippet from a company called Tandem Designs company and they produce a really intriguing product. Braille post it notes. Now, I just thought it was super cool that someone cared to put the color of the post it note on each note. And so I did a little interview with them and I’m clearly delighted with the fact that they have braille post it notes.

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So my name is Frank and I’m here with Tandem Design company. And at the heart of tandem design company lies a simple but profound belief that the world is richer when it’s more colorful and inclusive. And by infusing this philosophy into everyday items like our sticky notes, we’re not just designing products. We’re crafting a brighter and more inclusive future for everybody. And so that’s kind of the gist behind it. And what we’ve done is we’ve taken red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple sticky notes, and we’ve put, we’ve put the. We put the name or the color name in braille on the sticky notes. Each pack has roughly 25 pads in it, and every pad has 25 pages. And so they’re totally disposable. They’re super sticky. You can stick them on everything, use them for organization, or come up with your own color coding system. We find that people are coming up with a million different ways to use them, and all of our packaging is accessible. We even include inserts on the bottom of our pack that have color descriptions for people who may not have ever experienced the color, tying those into other sensory experiences. So that’s kind of what you get.

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So cool.

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I hope you like it. And we’re actually giving some away.

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Oh, wow.

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So, and here’s the box. I know the braille is hard to read over the.

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It’s. It’s great. I love it.

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Oh, yeah. Okay.

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No problem.

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Yeah, it’s awesome.

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It’s fun, right?

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So cool. Yeah.

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It’s like, it’s kind of a fun lifestyle product.

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Yeah. You know? Awesome.

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We’re all about, like, the tiny, tiny steps every day.

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That we could be more inclusive and make things more accessible, and that’s kind of our mission. Sticky notes and brown sticky notes. I know, right? It’s fun.

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That is so great. So, going from the everyday, low cost essentials to the everyday, higher cost braille displays, I wanted to share with you a few things that I got to put my hands on at CSuN. So I am all about visiting with those braille displays, and I got to visit with most of them, but I wanted to share with you a couple of interesting offerings. The first one is called the braille pen, and it can be [email protected] and it’s manufactured, produced by a company in Poland called Harpo. And I have seen one of these before in a different form factor, but I was really kind of fascinated to visit with the 24 cell braille pen. So what it is, it’s basically a braille keyboard controller. And it integrates with iOS, Android, PC, and Mac. You. It has 24 braille cells and there is a protective film over the braille cells, kind of like you’re reading through Saran wrap, although it feels, you know, better than Saran wrap for sure. And it doesn’t wrinkle like Saran wrap, but it’s just a little protective membrane. And so I think that just offers that protection from oils or dust or water. I mean, certainly you wouldn’t want to, you know, accidentally spill your drink on it, but certainly, certainly the protective film is, is helpful. I will say that if you have neuropathy or some loss of sensitivity in your fingers, it may not be the most efficient or best reading experience for you. I did not find any difficulty in reading the braille. It’s just a different experience with that protective film over the actual braille cells. It can connect with five simultaneous connections and Bluetooth and one USB connection. It offers 15 to 20 hours of battery life. It has a joystick in the middle of the little keyboard, the Perkins style keyboard, which have eight keys, and then you have your cursor routing buttons above each cell. It offers the HID or human interface device. So it is interesting. I would have to wonder how well it works with Android. I’m assuming that it would be okay, but I know Android is having some difficulty with some braille displays that use the HID interface. It has a micro SD card slot and it also has the USB C charging port. It’s basically six by three by 0.5 inches. And so it’s very small and portable, weighs about 8oz, and it has embedded apps for email and contacts. I was not able to parse out what that exactly means, but apparently those are some onboard apps to assist you with emailing. So that braille pen was really interesting. I am unsure of the price point. It was a little hard to decipher what that was, but there is contact information for ordering if you’re in North America or Europe or, you know, anywhere else in the world, basically. And you can also send them an email, they have a contact form. So that would probably be on the lower end of the price point. Now, on the upper end of the price point for cool technology is the active Braille 40 display by. It’s a handy tech display. It is offered by Dream Vision Group LLC, who distribute it. And I was particularly fascinated because I, a musician and former music teacher, I teach braille music sometimes in my capacity as a rehabilitation specialist. And so I was very fascinated to know about its music program. But what the active braille is it’s a 40 cell braille display, and it offers the unique experience of reading in that when you put your fingers onto the display, it’s in a little concave trough, which is very comfortable reading, actually. And what’s really cool is that there’s this ATC technology that when you finish a line, your fingers get to the end of the line. It automatically scrolls to the next line, which is really cool. No need to set an auto scroll and hope that you meet the speed that the machine does automatically for you. It will just zip to the next line as soon as you reach the last cell of the previous line. It has adjustable braille pin strength. It has a quiet braille keyboard, and it has apps like an editor, calculator, and a planner. There’s also a control key, which in combination with other keys, sends info to your computer when you’re connected to a computer. Has multi bluetooth for braille and sound. Three devices simultaneously. Audio coupling with your iPhone. Not sure what that means, but it sounds cool. It has an MP3 player for playing music and audiobooks, high quality stereo speakers, 64gb of memory, mass storage, and the battery lasts up to 40 hours, which is incredible. And it’s rechargeable. Interestingly enough, if you’re writing notes, you can paste notes into an email or WhatsApp and send them off. But the very neatest feature that I can ever think of was its music braille. It’s spelled M u s I c, braille, all one word. And it offers the ability to enter braille music into this little program, and then it’ll play it back for you. And also, the really cool thing is that you can touch each note and it plays each note one at a time. So I had the fun of entering the first four measures of my country, tis of thee. And I even entered, you know, a b flat because I was in f. And for those of you that know what that means, I want to make sure we’re playing in the right key signature. And so it just played my music back. It was very, very cool. And I know that they’re hoping to integrate at least one of their devices that has the music braille. Because the active star also has the music braille program. It can do much more with music braille. It’s in other of their braille displays. You can enter multi instruments in the active star, but this active braille just allows you to enter one line of music. But they’re hoping to integrate at least one of these devices in the future with Garageband. Which would be really, really cool. And so for the low, low price of $6,495, this can be yours or about $229 a month with affirm. So there is a way to buy this thing on credit. It looks like it’s zero interest, I believe, if you qualify. So that sort of thing. But what was really exciting was to see what sets this device apart, the, you know, the, the active scrolling and also the music braille component. And so it, it’s just really, really something. So those were the braille displays that I got to examine. There’s just a few of them at the CSUn assisted tech conference. And so I wanted to be sure you knew what was probably new or unique in the braille sphere. How about that new word, braille? Asphere, thanks so much for joining me today for this edition of at your fingertips braille, then and now. If you have any feedback, you can always go on the unmute show website and submit some feedback. Life has been really busy and I still haven’t got it together with my website for at your fingertips tech, but it will happen. It really will. I just appreciate your following the shows on the unmute present network and we’ll catch you next time. Thanks.