Pulse Data International (Christchurch, New Zealand) has introduced what it claims is the world's smallest hand-held Braille personal digital assistant (PDA) for the blind. The BrailleNote PK, said to fit inside a user's pocket, weighs less than 1 lb and has dimensions of 6.8 by 3.6 by 1.3 in.
"The BrailleNote PK provides blind business professionals with the same kind of personal digital assistance functionalities that sighted business professionals have available to them," says Peter Standish, CEO of Pulse Data HumanWare, Pulse Data International's North American subsidiary. "This includes connecting to a WiFi hotspot at a cafe or airport and surfing the Net at high speed to catch up on e-mail. With Bluetooth wireless technology built in, a user can also exchange information with their personal computer or connect to another larger BrailleNote device."
The company says the addition of Bluetooth technology provides new options for the blind user. For example, the BrailleNote PK can reportedly connect with any other Bluetooth-enabled device without extra software or programming. This includes a wide range of wireless devices such as mobile phones, personal computers, headsets, and keyboards.
"Not only does the BrailleNote PK offers all of the critical personal productivity tools expected in a traditional personal digital assistant, it has an intuitive and efficient environment specifically designed for a blind user," notes Mr. Standish.
Features of the BrailleNote PK include the following:
a word processor that includes automatic compatibility between all Braille formats and other print-based word processing formats such as Microsoft Word;
support of all major POP3 E-mail services, enabling the user to manage mail for business and non-business activities on the same device;
a daily planner that synchronizes with Microsoft Outlook;
an address list that can be synchronized with other Bluetooth-enabled devices such as cell phones and personal computers;
a media player that allows blind business professionals to listen to audio books or training materials;
more than 30 hours of battery life; and
a scientific calculator and a stopwatch.
The company expects to ship the BrailleNote PK early in the fourth quarter of 2004.
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