Labs Product Review – BrailleSense 6 Notetaker

BrailleSense 6 refreshable Braille display in black

Peter Claridge-Bowler in the NCBI Labs team shares his thoughts on the portable and powerful BrailleSense 6 Notetaker 

Item Name: BrailleSense 6
Reviewed by: Peter Claridge-Bowler

What is a braille notetaker?

A braille notetaker is an all-in-one device. A refreshable braille display, a notetaker can function totally independently without any outside input from other devices but it can also work as just a braille terminal. A Braille notetaker can send and receive emails, create and open word documents, access Excel sheets, create and manage databases, access the internet and a wide array of different apps and programs. Most modern braille notetakers from companies such as HIMS and Humanware now allow you to access directly the Google Play store!

Is it Accessible?

Yes it is, most if not all braille notetakers come with a built in screen reader and a refreshable braille display. on starting the device for the first time it will take you through a step-by-step guide on how it works and how best to use it’s functions.

What’s in the box?

I adore the device, this would be my first time using a braille notetaker for any length of time: bar a few one hour demos in the past, I’m so glad that I picked a device like this, it’s capabilities and customisation are endless, I’ve been using it for both work and home life. when at work: I’ve been using it to take notes with it’s built in notepad, creating word documents and then sending them to co-workers using its built in emailing system. keeping track of my upcoming appointments and creating new ones, using Microsoft teams and being able to do internet based research.

I’ve also been using the braille sense 6 as a reading and leisure device, I’ve been able to download and read books directly from Book share, use it’s built in Daisy player to read both Daisy audio books and E Books: I’ve been using both the google search and internet browser search to do research. Also accessing social media like Facebook, and twitter as well as for YouTube.

What are the pros?

The device has so many functions, its customisation is outstanding. Its capabilities with accessing multiple different types of format are beyond anything I’ve ever used. Being able to access the Google play store and download whatever app I wanted, I feel was a massive plus. I’ve been downloading audible books, kindle books directly to the device, I’ve been able to access a variety of different media formats as well.

What are the cons?

The only cons that I have been coming across are the sheer amount of commands and shortcuts to use, it’s extremely overwhelming at times and can be difficult to remember exactly what to do, might I add: these commands and short cuts are just for quicker navigation, currently there is an issue with the play store as google sent out an up date that has made the braille senses pay store stopped working, HIMS is aware of the issues but is working on solving the problem.

The other problem for some is the price point is upwards of €6000, which is out of most people’s price range . But there are grants out there that can support in buying the product.

Did it meet my expectations?

Oh it did, it even went above and beyond in fact: I truly wasn’t expecting this level of access to information, access to creating and sharing information. I was truly blown away by what it can do.

Final thoughts

I think this product is amazing, it has abilities that I didn’t even know were possible. And I’m still finding out more and I look forward to future up coming updates from HIMS as they are always keeping the product up to date.