Bringing technology forward - BrailleNote

It was a New Zealand-based company that first placed the capabilities of a laptop in the hands of people who are blind or partially sighted. CNIB's 2003 Winston Gordon Award winner Pulse Data International developed the BrailleNote – a completely portable computer whose users could glide their fingers over a braille display instead of looking at a screen.
 
Built on Microsoft’s Windows CE operating system, BrailleNote housed a word processor, a scientific calculator, email access, a book reader and a web browsing capabilities. Documents could also be scanned and imported into the BrailleNote for later reading.
 
“Technology solutions such as the BrailleNote give users who are blind or visually impaired the opportunity to learn, study, and communicate as quickly and efficiently as their sighted peers,” said Jim Sanders, former CNIB president and CEO, at the time of the award presentation. “Greater access to information translates into greater independence and opportunity.”
 
Particularly useful for education, the BrailleNote let students who with sight loss store documents, including textbooks and electronic books. Teachers could easily provide electronic assignments and homework. The BrailleNote could also be hooked up to standard computers to use mainstream software and printers.