The Braille Mini (Source)

OK, hello everyone. We're really happy to welcome you today to our webinar, which is a demonstration of the Perkins Mini. And our presenter today is Joann Becker, who works at Perkins Products. And we're really thrilled to have Joann here with us today to demonstrate this product. Welcome to Joann.

Thank you. Perkins is committed to increasing braille literacy throughout the world. And one of the ways in which Perkins Products is making a difference in the lives of blind people is providing extremely affordable refreshable braille displays. In my opinion, one of the things that Perkins is doing is setting a standard for reducing the prohibitive cost of refreshable braille.

And perhaps you're familiar with our family of braille displays. We have an 80-cell as well as a 40-cell braille display. And if you want more information about those products, I would invite you to visit our website site at And today I'm going to present the newest and the most mini in our line of refreshable braille products.

This is more than just a braille display. This is a mini note taker as well. And when I describe its size, I think you're going to understand why we refer to it as the Perkins Mini. It weighs under eight ounces. It is 6 and 1/2 inches long, 4 and 1/2 inches wide, and 1 and 1/2 inches high. And I'm going to begin by describing the layout of the Perkins Mini, and then I will discuss the applications that are built in to the Mini.

And I thought it would be really important to show how the Mini is working with other devices, and specifically iOS devices. I have an iPad, and we will be connecting the Mini through Bluetooth with the iPad. And I'll begin by discussing the Perkins Mini.

On the left side-- I'm going to be moving from back to front-- there is a USB port. And the next thing I come to is a micro SD card slot. And each mini is equipped with a four gigabyte micro SD card. On the top surface from back to front, there is an eight key Perkins style braille keyboard. And then of course we have 16 lovely, refreshable braille cells.

And behind each braille cell, there is a cursor routing button. So this is particularly helpful when editing material. I can just place my finger, press the cursor routing button, and it will take me directly to that place where I want to edit the braille. Also it's really helpful in making menu selection. On either side of the braille display, there is a button on the left and right side. And this will advance or move back the braille line.

And just beneath those buttons, there are two navigation joysticks. One on the left side, one on the right side for perfect seamless navigation. And then in the center beneath the braille display, we have two space bars. On the right side of the unit, we have a mini USB port. And this is going to assist you in connecting the Perkins Mini to a computer.

And yes, it works with all the major screen readers-- JAWS, Window-Eyes, HAL, et cetera. And also, this port is used for charging the Perkins Mini. And then behind that, we have the rocker switch that turns the Mini on and off. And I should let you know that the battery life is impressive. It's 10 hours. And of course, this does have Bluetooth, and with all Bluetooth devices, when you're using Bluetooth, the likelihood is you're going to drain more of its battery.

So now to discuss all these built-in apps on our Mini. So I'm going to turn the Mini on. And there isn't synthetic speech, so this is a great thing to encourage braille literacy. So I'm going to be reading braille. And the first thing I feel on the braille display is the Notepad app. So this allows me to create files, folders, I can write notes, bring this to meetings. I can take notes if I were in a classroom.

And in addition to the Notepad feature, the next app we have is a file management feature. So I can organize files and folders on the Mini. And the great thing is, it's really easy to take these files and folders and move them to another computer, or another mobile device. Beneath that, I have a Read app.

And reading app is a lovely thing. I can take a USB thumb drive or the SD card and download books from the National Library Service or from It will read text files. And I can take those various books or files that I want to read, go to the Read app, and enjoy placing my fingers on the braille display. And there's an automatic scroll feature, so I can simply place my fingers, and have it automatically scrolling for me. I can turn off scroll feature at any point, or I can go at a slower speed or a faster speed.

The next app, it of course has a built-in calculator. For those students who love math, that's a really helpful app. And we have a clock. And the next app a Tools app. And that will allow me to determine the power status. And also whenever there are updates for the Perkins Mini, I would simply put the new file on the USB thumb drive, go to the tool, and then click down to Update Mini. And the device in about two seconds is automatically updated.

So as you can see, this is not only portable, but this is truly affordable. And so when I think about its application, one of the lovely things is because it is Bluetooth, I'm going to now connect it to the iPad. And this of course is a device that so often teachers are working with students in the classroom.

Blind students are now being given iPads. With voiceover, it's made it truly accessible. And the one caveat in my mind about using an iPad or iPod only with voiceover is that it doesn't encourage braille literacy. So when you combine it with, for example, the-- I'm going to turn on the Bluetooth connection.

When you combine it with the Perkin Mini, it's going to really take care of that fundamental issue of ensuring that the blind students are not only reading, they're writing in braille which is our tool to ensure that we are literate citizens. So as soon as I hear voiceover turn on-- and it should be ready in a minute-- you will see how easily it is to connect. And I'll show you one of my favorite apps, which is from BookShare.

Let's see what's happening with the iPad. Pan I love reading, and so there is an app called Read2Go. And it's a wonderful thing when I used the Mini with Read2Go, I can quickly go to the book shelf, locate the book, and then read in braille whatever book I've downloaded. Wonderful thing.

Screen locked. Slide to unlock. iBook. Double tap to open.

OK. So I now have my little Mini connected to the iPad. And I can't simply use chording commands to move around the home screen. For example, I can--


Well, there is Read2Go.

Double tap to open.

And I would just double click on the joystick to open this app.

Read2Go. Book shelf button.

And then if I click--

Navigation button.

--I can go to the book shelf, I can go to a navigation menu.

Set Bookmark button.

I can set bookmarks. And all of this is possible using the Mini. And the other nice thing is, I can actually mute the speech. So

Speech off.

By simply pressing an m-chord I turn off the speech. And if I wanted only to use braille, then I'll go to the book shelf, and then in braille I'm then able to check out what's available and choose a selection and begin reading it in braille. I'm going to turn--

Speech on.

Now it's on once again. And I'm going to show you a really fun app that I think students are going to like. Move app there.

Read2Go. Page 2 of 3, Adobe Reader, Capital A, Flexy, [INAUDIBLE], FaceTime, Photo Booth, double tap to open.

And I'm just using the Mini to navigate around the home page.

Pandora, Amazon, Twitter, CNN, Crackle, Cool Facts, [INAUDIBLE], Cool Facts.

That's it. Cool Facts.

A hippopotamus can run faster than a man can. Collected 278. Collected 279. Aztec emperor Montezuma drank 50 golden goblets of hot chocolate every day. It was thick, dyed red, and flavored with chili peppers.

Wow. Now who would have known that? So these are some of the wonderful applications working with the Mini and braille that I think can really make such a difference in students' lives. It certainly made a difference in my life. And I do want to mention one other program that I think is such a crucial and important program for deafblind people.

Perkins is working with the Federal Communications Commission, and this is a product that will be available to those deafblind people. It's a program that is going to ensure that deafblind people receive the technology that they need for communicating in their everyday lives to really enable them to lead more independent lives. And please visit the web site Thank you.