Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Home is Where the Braille Is: BrailleBlaster™ Software Is for Everyone


This is a slightly edited version of the text of the post appearing on AFB’s Family Connect blog on January 10, 2018, regarding BrailleBlaster.

Software for transcribing braille has been available for many years, but due to cost, it has been out of reach for most home users. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is changing that by offering the most powerful transcription software available free-of-charge! Originally designed for braille transcribers, BrailleBlaster™ can be downloaded and used by everyone, including parents, teachers, and students. Download at http://brailleblaster.org/
 
Special Question and Answer Event on January 17th!

More about BrailleBlaster in a moment, but first we want to invite you to an APH/AFB partner event happening on the FamilyConnect blog. If you have questions about how BrailleBlaster software can make life easier for you and your child, please visit that blog next week on Wednesday, January 17th. We will be answering questions in the Comments section starting at 9am EST. Have a question? Post it in the comments in the original post on FamilyConnector send it to info@aph.org.

You Can Create High-Quality Braille at Home
 
What would you braille for your child? Reminder notes, to-do lists, homework assignments, stories? Transcribe these and more into braille using BrailleBlaster software. As a public service, APH is making its advanced transcribing software available free of charge. Although it is powerful, creating basic braille documents in BrailleBlaster is easy and does not require an in-depth knowledge of braille.

After you download and install the software on your Windows® PC or Mac®, simply copy & paste text from any document into BrailleBlaster. Instantly, excellent quality simulated braille will appear on your screen. This braille can then be edited for formatting in a similar way you edit text in a word processor. For example, to center a heading, put your curser in front of the words you want centered, go to the toolbar, click on the headings button, select center, and the heading will automatically center.
 
Have an older student? BrailleBlaster is fully accessible and can be used by students to create their own braille!

Getting Braille Into Your Child's Hands

Now that you've created a braille document, there are two ways to get it into the hands of your braille reader: using a braille embosser or using a refreshable braille display.
 
If you have a braille embosser, you can create hard copy braille by sending your braille-ready file (.brf) from BrailleBlaster to the embosser.
 
If your child uses a refreshable braille display, you can save the file as a braille-ready file and email it to them.

Frequently Asked Questions about BrailleBlaster
 
Have questions about using BrailleBlaster at home or at school? Find our BrailleBlaster FAQs here. You can also email questions to APH at info@aph.org.

Gaining Access to Braille Technology

Braille Embossers: Although prices have decreased, the cost of braille embossers remains high. Fortunately, there are now more options than ever! Here is a list of possible resources for locating or obtaining an embosser. The list includes local places, such as libraries, that may have an embosser, a list of lower-cost embossers, and ideas on how to raise funds for buying assistive technology.
 
Refreshable Braille Displays: There are many good options for refreshable braille displays. One device is APH's upcoming Orbit Reader 20™, which has a significant price breakthrough. 
 
How Will You Use BrailleBlaster?

We know BrailleBlaster will be useful to you at home or to your child's school. It's free, so you can download it an experiment all you like on as many devices as you like. Let us know how you use BrailleBlaster, we're sure users are going to find many uses for it that we haven't even imagined!

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