Refreshable Braille Display


an image of a refreshable Braille displayRefreshable Braille Displays are electronic devices that are used to read text tactually that is typically displayed visually on a computer monitor. The device is connected to the computer by a serial cable, USB cable or via blue tooth and produces Braille output on the Braille display (small plastic or metal pins that move up and down to display the Braille characters).

Refreshable Braille displays generally sit under a regular keyboard with the Braille cells nearest to you, along the front of the keyboard. A screen reading software is needed for the user to have access to any information on the screen. Braille displays vary in terms of how many cells are available. The numbers after the name of a refreshable Braille display indicates the number of Braille cells active; 80 cells would give the computer user one line of information on the computer screen; 40 and 65 would give partial lines.  Some portable note takers that have refreshable Braille can be used as a refreshable Braille display for a computer.

Points to Ponder

Questions to consider when choosing a refreshable Braille display

  • Is it compatible with your computer's platform?
  • How does it connect to your computer?
  • How many Braille cells are active on the display?
  • Does it have its own power source?
  • Does it have extra keys that can be programmed with additional commands?
  • Is it stationary or portable? Do you need to move it between your home, school or work? Consider the weight of the refreshable Braille display. 


Refreshable Braille Display Manufacturers

SNOW does not endorse any of the following software/hardware. These links are provided for information purposes only.

Freedom Scientific
Triumph Technology
Nippon Telesoft
Want to learn more about Braille and other alternative formats? Visit our section on Alternative Formats!