Access Tech: Android Training for All Part 2

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe and today I will be doing a part 2 on the Android Training for All post from this week because something has come up!

Android Tech Used on Braille Devices!

So, I have been listening to one episode of the Tech Doctors Podcast hosted by Robert and Alison who look into blind tech on their show and what is out there and what they have experienced within their own tech bubble and this episode dealt with Braille Notetakers.

I know what you are wondering along with some people and that isn’t Braille a “dead language?” It may be “dead” to some since we do use technology and this system of dots was developed over 200 years ago but a lot of blind people still use it, even me! I use Braille on a daily basis to label the items I use and read textbooks, even take notes on my own note taker known as the HIMS Braille Sense U2 which I also use when I do press jobs at conventions to develop my reviews. What is great like with the phone and computer, Braille has been catching up in the tech department and a lot of people do use Braille devices in order to take notes, read books, and even use it in Pages on their phone like I had during the last NFB meeting. Since I have mentioned the Android training for All post, apparently with the new note takers being made they are being built to include Android tech to run with them and the most two recent devices are the Braille Note Touch by Human ware and the Braille Sense Polaris by HIMS which is the same company who developed my Braille Sense U2.

What Are They Exactly? Well, the Braille Note Touch is a tablet and a note taker put together where you use touch Braille to type and it shows up on the tablet underneath along with a Braille display like with a lot of note takers. The tablet runs on Android systems and you can use the many Google apps like with the Galaxy tablets and you can also separate the tablet to use on its own from what I remembered listening to the podcast. There are some difficulties such as having a hard time correcting what you have typed and pairing with other Bluetooth devices like the Apple ear pods for example but it is pretty interesting that Human ware has developed this kind of device since a lot of blind users do use tablets to get around when it comes to tech stuff. While the Braille Sense Polaris, on the other hand, it is more of a sleek version of the U2 and it has capabilities where people can use the Google Play store to get apps to use that you find on the Galaxy Tab and there is even a touch area that you can use finger gestures like on an Android platform based tablet or phone and you can still take notes with it too. What I did hear is that it is buggy despite the steps HIMS has taken to go the next tech mile but they are looking into fixing those which hearing about these features makes me want to get one but I have to figure out Android first and that brings me to the next idea…

Bringing the Android Training to All: Like in the last post, a lot of blind people are stepping up their tech game and I did mention what if someone I meet if I were teaching wants to learn Android instead of Apple and this is a perfect example of that Android training to anyone who is in V. R. too (Vocational Rehab.) Since Braille note takers have helped the blind for many years, especially with new developments in tech and how much companies are competing and keeping up, taking that extra step into the Android platform makes it even more of a demand to know how to use it.

For instance, I have gone through training in knowing how to use my Braille Sense QWERTY model which is basically if you take your computer’s keyboard and add a Braille display to it and type on it like if you were in Word and I also had training with my U2 to get used to the chords and shortcuts on the Perkins Brailler Style keyboard you see me use today. If I were to get the Polaris, I would still need that training in getting around the Android interface part of the tech to be able to transfer to my tablet since it would run the same software. So, I would say that would be a major win with that training, right? Plus, with the Human ware device, you would also go through that same kind of training due to the tablet portion. The good thing is that Perkins does offer the videos to learn the Human ware Braille Note Touch to get around the Android Touch and how to use the many apps as well. I did look for the Braille Sense Polaris but all I can find at the moment is the User Manual which does offer how to use the device but it is good to have someone there to train you and by the way the manual is offered by HIMS even as a PDF. And I did see if Perkins E-Learning offers any videos for what I am going through on my Galaxy Tab, only thing I have found so far is just a video about how to set it up for people with low vision and how to modify the colors on the screen’s wallpaper and the keyboard. Hey, what about navigation? Oh well, I did post a comment to see if they have something or may make something because that can be handy.

Still, I am also thinking that a lot of people do learn differently and having one on one training can help not only the user but also any new A. T. Specialists that may run into a device like this too and knowing Android beforehand would prepare them for it.

Not only that, I did hear in the podcast that the reason why the Polaris is going up in tech is that the U2 is going to be at its end in tech compatibility soon which will be sad since I had this thing for two years and looking at the Polaris I may switch at one point to keep my tech studies up and of course another thing is that with the Android tech being in these devices school work and any projects from work can be accessed through Drop Box which can be a very handy thing with how we use Google Drive, ICloud and even other outlets to save work on. I am thinking of upgrading but waiting when this device has gotten out of the bug stage since that can happen and I did hear that one bug that needs a major fix is editing documents where the document can be corrupted if you go back and do the usual and fancy editing work. I will have to wait and see but in the meantime will be using my u2.

New Conclusion: So, since we have talked about the various points with the Android training in that last post and now expanding it here, Braille Note takers are also becoming more advanced and using the Android platform to make Braille even more accessible and “alive” as you will since most people think it is “dead.” Looking at these two new devices shows that being trained in Android even if you are going to school and planning to get a job can be beneficial and shows that Android wants to step up its game to be part of Braille even more. I want to see Apple get in on this too since you can use Braille devices with Apple products, since I did say I use my U2 with Pages and navigating with shortcuts, it can be an interesting thought to put IOS tech into these devices too but having Android for now is a good start and gives Braille a new look. And of course with the training, it does expand the A. T. Specialist’s toolbox to learn these kinds of devices if they run into someone who has one and can give advice or training to help them navigate the product more. Depending on what kind of company user if it is Human ware or HIMS, I would say take a look into these devices and it may take a lot of saving because the prices are pretty steep but it is a good investment since I have used the Braille Sense QWWWETY and U2 for the longest time and does save you time and pain in the classroom, trust me it was not easy carrying and using a Perkins Brailler in class.

Well, that is it for this post. I know I was going to talk about the gaming bit but this came up and wanted to expand this point because hearing about how Braille tech expands is even more awesome! So, I would stay tuned for the gaming post because it is coming!

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