Though not publicly available for download, Baum has unveiled what's coming in version 1.4 of the firmware for the VarioUltra braille display. Among the included features is the public beta release of support for Unified English Braille (UEB).
The UEB support, according to the manual will have some "converting errors when typing UEB inside an RTF document." With version 1.4, user settings should be retained as long as you perform the update through the new update process. This involves going to settings>system settings>update after copying the update file to the VarioUltra. If you follow the traditional method of updating, all system settings including Bluetooth pairing will be lost. You also will have your default braille code set to UEB. If you still want to retain all other settings, but utilize UEB, consult version 1.11 of the manual,. The source link is the html version.
Also introduced with 1.4 will be the ability to unlock Android and iOS devices with the braille display. Simply press system key 2 (the key located directly to the left of the spacebar), and then the key which corresponds to the channel your device is paired on. When the public beta is released, this section will be updated to reflect how well this works.
Copying text from the VarioUltra's internal keyboard will soon have a faster method of transfer utilizing a protocol called Human Interface Device (HID). This process is carried out in a similar method as the older version, which is still available, but involves using different keys. You may recall that VarioUltra has typically required that pairing be first done through the device you wish to use it with prior to pairing with your screen reader. This, along with the unlocking of Android and iOS devices, are made possible by this style of pairing. See the manual, section 2.7.3 for further details.
Support for slideshow PowerPoint documents, enhancements to the formatting characters in braille documents, changing the text order of PDF documents, different dot strength options, the ability to hide the cursor in a document, the saving of settings in different profiles, and several other changes have been made in Version 1.4. To find each change, open the source link and search for the characters "**" without the quotes. This will be a free update for existing VarioUltra customers and can be downloaded from This link when it becomes available. At the time of writing, this page simply says it will be available in February 2017.Source: Baum
One thing that convinced me to choose the VU over other Braille displays was Baum's commitment to continuing to update firmware for several years. I had seen this happen with previous Baum devices, and though they often started out with bugs and always had interfaces with a steep learning curve, updates typically were regular and useful. I am pleased that my VU, which I've now had for about two years continues to become a better device. Other Braille displays I've had access to have not had even a single firmware update in the past two years.
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