active braille or braille sense u2

hi all,
i want to buy a new braille device. i'm thinking of both active braille and braille sense u2
what do you think better?
i like active braille because of its robust technology
what do you think? and do you have other suggestions for advanced braille devices?
i will use them with my mac and iphone and may use it to do presentations
thanks
have a good day

Forum: 

#1 Active braille?

Hello!

I have only seen a U2, can you send a link just so I can look at it and watch their differences??

Have you used any devices before your thoughts of gettning another?

Best regards Thomas

#2 braillesense u2

it does bluetooth well and has many neat features.
the main bad points for me are extreme slowness and poor performance on wireless lan.
using the u2 with the i-device can overcome this.
the u2 operating system is based on windows 6 which is really old in this day of rapid change.
i forget which chip u2 is based on but it is kind of behind the times.
i think thats why it is so slow over wireless lan--the poor old chip cannot handle modern data encryption fast enough.
i am just guessing on that, but it is definitely pitiful on my wifi.
if you can find a display based on a faster chip i would be strongly inclined to choose it.
i would try to find the benchmark numbers for each chip, then compare the features list of each display.
The u2 is the only display I have used.

#3 re: active braille and braille sense

Thomas, this is my first one to buy, i haven't used a braille display before.
here is a video to describe active braille
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3htyngYz-Q
i don't know how people don't know about active braille, it's the only device which have ATC technology which allows the automatic scrolling of the text without the need to press a button.
Brian, i have listened to many podcasts about braille sense u2 and never expected that it has such problems
how such a fast device has a slow wifi network?
i want you to know about active braille and tell me your opinion.
active braille is manufactured by Handy Tech

#4 active braille and braillesense

Don't get me wrong--When I connect the u2 to my ipad that combination works very well wireless.
When I do that thee ipad takes care of the wifi connection and data encryption.
Furthermore other people may get the u2 to work better with a direct u2-to-lan setup.
I have not even tried my u2 in a nonwireless ethernet configuration.
I know that many people on the google braille notetaker list are very happpy with their u2.
I am happy with mine too, but I just never use directly on the lan.

The u2 can definiitely scroll text.
I think it only requires one push of some keys; very simple once you learn it.
I do not like automatic scrolling personally.

#5 BrailleSense U2 Qwerty and BT Features

The BrailleSense by Hims Inc comes with many features, see below:
Social Networking and WiFi
* Twitter
* Facebook
* Google Talk
* YouTube
* Connect to A WiFi Network, with No Disks Or Cards Required

Web Browsing
* Regular Web Browser
* Quick Browser to Speed Up The Web
* Google Search

Navigation
* Google Maps

Protection
* Comes with A Case That Protects The BrailleSense From Harm
* Password Protection

Media
* FM Radio
* Daisy Player

Games
Comes with fun games to play...
There's a lot you can use the ghrlSense for, and almost every blind person I talk to has one.

#6 RE: Active braille

Thank you so much for the link.

I have been thinking about an answer, and here are my thoughts. First of all I must say, that it wasn't easy for me to find any user manual for the Active braille. In fact I didn't find one, so it is based on all other data I was able to find:

I certainly like the idea of the active braille moving along while you are reading, and I also love the ability to transfer text to the device via a card. I haven't seen one, so I can't comment on anything regarding how it operates, but what annoyed me personally very much was when it was described in the Youtube-movie that it beeps a lot. I hope this can be changed in settings, but since I couldn't find a manual, I hope other users can correct me.

Now for the braille sende U2:

Yes, the hardware is not new, and yes it operates on an older operativ system. But as I understand it, so does other devices like the braillenote from Humanware.

As other's have mentioned the braillesense U2 has a lot of features. Some of them you might need, and others never at all. I myself tried a U2, comming from a braille display only, and I instantly fell in love with the word processor, the file manager and also the media player, just to name a few things. What I especially love about this device is the terminal clipboard. You can type some text in grade 2 braille and send it to your iOS-device or your computer, and get it translated to uncontracted braille. For me this speed things up a lot, because I was able to copy text out of written documents and send them to other contacts without having to edit anything in the iOS screen. Please note: I have had some small issues regarding this feature, but I think I have tracked it down to the contraction tabel that is used in the language I use on the display, and that this does a difference for the devices, during the translation process.

Oh, and another point, that I almost forgot: Be careful that your display can translate documents into languages you read. I have seen a display that did much of what the active braille can do, but it didn't offer contracted braille support for my native language, so if I copied a document on to it, I could only read it in uncontracted braille, and that was a no go for me.

If you have an iPad or an iPhone use the webbrowser on that instead of the buildin. No slamming at all, but the browser is not new anymore, and it can not handle some pages, due to the technologies used on them, so I haven't used it all that much.

The keyboard and reading keys are not very noisy, in fact I couldn't hear a key press when I read a text myself. The keyboard (on the U2 32 display) is amazing, my hands couldn't fit the U2-mini.

Lastly you might think, why does he like so many of the build in apps if he has an iPhone/iPad? I love the media player etc. because it saves battery on my phone, so I can use it for browsing the internet, texting friends or whatever I like still while enjoying books and music on the U2.

So my advice for you would be the following:

  • Think very hard about what features you actually need regarding a braille display, and what your gols are. If you know that you never ever will use the device for anything else than notetaking and reading, check if your language is supported both for importing files that are and are not specificb braille documents, so you won't have to convert it to something else before reading it.
  • Think in longer terms. Would like to be able to use any build in app on the U2 in the future,or do you use other devices for all these tasks?
  • If possible try to get your hands on both the devicesbefore buying one or the other.

Hope my thoughts helped you a little.

Please let us know wich device you will purchase at the end.

Best regards Thomas

#7 Thomas, you know what?

hi Thomas
i found that the main question is whether i need a braille display or a note taker.
in fact, i need both, what i liked about active braille that it has different new technology other than all other devices. however, it's very expensive as just a braille display. that's why i thought of braille sense.
if i guarantee that i can use just a braille display without the need to a laptop or ios deice, i can go for it. but some people told me that braille sense is an integrated fully-functioned device that i can rely on without the need to another device at least outside my home or in a lecture.
i'm afraid that active braille, like most other braille displays, is just working with other devices and at most read a book on it via a memory card.
note takers, like braille sense, can operate many files such as docs, xls, and even pdf
you can also run a powerpoint presentation and connect it to a projector to present your powerpoint.

i don't know, but i think, that can't be done on a braille display. please correct me if i'm wrong.
another thing, which may encourage me more to get a braille sense, is that i think you can connect a flash usb drive to it and transfer files. if that is correct, that would be wonderful.
regarding the social media thing, i don't believe it's that important as our iOS devices work well with such apps.
even the google maps are not practical because you still need an add on to make good use of it.
i've also read that braille displays are sensitive; they can be easily harmed if your hand is not washed up well.
the thing i want to know also, is note taker with a braille display is as efficient as only braille display when using them as such braille display?
i wrote this according to my search and reading in many websites. please tell me your answers and opinion about my thoughts.
best regards.
Ahmed

#8 answers about the u2

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello.
The u2 does have support for the connecting of a flash drive, and also has support for Dropbox. I mention Dropbox because this access allows me to connect the u2 to my Dropbox and copy files directly from there to the u2. I can't speak to the braille cell specifications of the Active Braille, as I've only looked at the device a couple of times at conventions and CSUN, but the u2 also comes with a nialon cover which can be placed over the braille display to help prevent dirt and other unwanted things from getting in the display itself. It doesn't always work if your fingers are not sensitive enough to read the braille through it, but I started using the cover about a year ago, and love it. It did take a bit of getting used to, but was well worth it. As for the Active braille, you do get 8 more cells of braille than what you will get with the u2, but another thing is to consider what type of support is available in your country for each device. In North America, Triomph Technologies supports the Active Braille, while the HIMS Texas based office does support for the u2. Of course, in Europe,
Handy Tec based in Germany would have support for the Active Braille. That said, I believe the Active Braille is priced significantly higher than the u2, which is also probably why it's not more wide spread. I'm sorry I don't have a clear answer for you, no one should, as these things are based purely on personal preference.

#9 active braille or braille sense u2

Hi all, My name is Earle Harrison and I am the owner of Triumph Technology and the U.S. distributor of Handy Tech products including the Active Braille. As it happens, I am also the Minnesota dealer of HIMS products including the BrailleSense U2 and I am proud to be associated with both companies. While it is true that the Active Braille is a bit more expensive than the BrailleSense U2, it is important to point out that as of March 1, 2015, all Handy Tech devices come with a 3 year warranty and about 95 percent of repairs and servicing is done here at my office in Colubmia Heights Minnesota. If I'm not mistaken, the U2 comes with a 1 year warranty and a product Maintenance Agreement (PMA) is available for $650. If you purchase the PMA you will see that the cost is almost as much as the Active Braille and the Active Braille still gives you a third year of warranty without the need to purchase any extended warranty. We have sold many Active Braille displays in the United states and we have also sold many BrailleSense U2 in Minnesota and it really is a matter of informed consumer choice and what they want out of a device. Personally, I love the fact that I can turn on ATC and read a document from beginning to end without the need to hardly ever press a button. At the risk of sounding smug, I often say that the people who purchase the Active Braille purchase it for what it does and not what it costs. I am aware of at least one braille proof reader who states that the Active Braille saved her job because the use of it has completely resolved her carpel tunnel syndrome due to the fact that she isn't constantly pressing buttons as she is reading lengthy documents. The tones that the Active Braille sound are very suttle and can be switched off. The folks at Handy Tech feel that it is best to connect to an external device and leverage the power of existing mainstream technology instead of trying to make the braille device do everything thus avoiding redundancies. The auto scrolling offered by ATC technology can also be extended to mobile devices such as the iPhone. It is now possible to download an iBook, switch on ATC and enjoy the ability to read without the need to press buttons. In some situations, ATC is not a good thing, so a simple keystroke serves as a toggle to turn ATC on and off. I do hope that this answers some of your questions. Feel free to email me directly at: earle@attriumph.com