Devices Offering Great Solutions (DOGS)

Electronic Braille Displays

Devices to read and write Electronic Braille

What does it do?

Refreshable Braille Displays and Braille Notetakers are portable devices for reading and writing in braille.

Braille is a reading method for persons who are blind. Braille consists of a combination of raised dots that represent a single letter or a shorthand of common letter combinations. Electronic Braille is read through a refreshable Braille display using raised rounded pins.

Portable Braille devices can create and read notes, email, and browse the Internet among other useful tasks. Some prefer to use their Braille display alongside other technology such as a computer or mobile device. Many refreshable Braille displays and note takers can be connected to these devices either wirelessly or through a USB.

What kinds of electronic braille displays are there?

Perkins Keyboards

Typical Braille displays are a single line of Braille cells, and a person reading can move the line of Braille displayed by use of cursor keys. Braille entries are made with a keyboard that consists of six keys representing a position in the Braille cell and a space bar to separate letters/combination of letters.

These devices are made by companies like Freedom Scientific, HIMS, and Humanware.

QWERTY Keyboards

Some braille displays and notetakers offer traditional typing keyboards for inputting text. Examples include the Mantis from Humanware or the BrailleSense from HIMS.

Person’s hands using a refreshable braille display to read content from computer.

How do I see what's new?

Technology changes all the time. To find out about the latest options for these, you can type keywords into a search engine such as Google, Safari, Firefox, or Bing on a computer or tablet. These are the keywords for this type of item:

refreshable braille display, electronic braille, braille notetaker

How do I find out more?

If you live in the US outside of Pennsylvania you would need to find your state's AT program.

If you live in Pennsylvania:

  • you could contact TechOWL to work with a specialist. We can meet with you and sometimes demonstrate this equipment. We can also help with different ways to get one for your own.
  • you might borrow this equipment to try out. Do we have this in our lending library?


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Jule Ann Lieberman

Jule Ann Lieberman has earned her Master of Science in Low Vision Therapy, is dual certified by Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals ( as Low Vision Therapist and Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist. Jule Ann began her work in assistive technology instructing blind and low vision adults in the use of assistive technology in 1998. She joined TechOWL, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University (formerly known as Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology) in 2013 as Assistive Technology Specialist and continues to provide information and assistance, consultation, demonstrations, and public awareness training in the use of assistive technology. Jule Ann has presented educational sessions at national and regional assistive technology conferences for many years. She has been legally blind with a progressive vision impairment since age of 16 and enjoys learning new technologies and how it meets the needs of those with vision loss and blindness.

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