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#ATIA19 Audio: Point Your Finger At The Books You Want To Read With BraiBook

BraiBook truly is portable Braille you can put in a pocket. The one cell device has already been on the market in Spain and is now making its way to the U.S. and U.K. Sebastien Lefebvre, CEO, gives J.J. an overview of the unit. Navigation is accomplished by hearing speech from the on board headphone jack, moving through options with a small stick control and materials can be transferred to the BraiBook via USB. The $450 model was shown off in Orlando and more information can be found at the BraiBook website

ATIA 2019 coverage is Brought to you by AFB AccessWorld.

For the latest news and accessibility information on mainstream and access technology, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offerings, access technology book reviews, and mobile apps, and how they can enhance entertainment, education and employment, log on to AccessWorld, the American Foundation for the Blind's free, monthly, online technology magazine. Visit


We strive to provide an accurate transcription, though errors may occur.

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Transcribed by Grecia Ramirez

From beautiful Orlando, Florida, it’s coverage of ATIA 2019, brought to you by AFB AccessWorld.
For the latest news and accessibility information on mainstream and access technology; Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offerings; access technology; book reviews; and mobile apps and how they can enhance entertainment, education, and employment, log onto AccessWorld, the American Foundation for the Blind's free monthly online technology magazine.
Now, here’s J.J. Meddaugh.
J.J. MEDDAUGH: We are here at the Exhibit Hall at ATIA 2019. I’m here with Sebastien Lefebvre --
JM: -- CEO of BraiBook. Well, BraiBook is a new 1-cell portable Braille display. Sebastien, welcome to the podcast.
SL: Thank you.
JM: Why don’t you explain what we have here?
SL: So BraiBook designed what we call a Brai eReader that’s portable and lightweight and that uses only one Braille cell in order to transcribe PDFs, ePub, and TXT files that are stored in the memory of the device.
JM: So it has a single cell, and what it will do is you can control the speed, and it will flash up the letters of whatever you load in on the one cell. You put a finger over top of it, and you can feel it.
SL: Yeah. Exactly. So we have this Braille cell with six or eight dots moving. And with the little joystick on the side of the device, you can increase the speed, slow it down, you can also move in the content backwards, forward, one word at a time, one sentence at a time, and obviously, put on pause.
JM: Kind of looks like – I’m not sure how you would describe it, but it’s only a couple inches long. It’s rounded.
SL: Yeah. I agree. It’s like a small pill, probably. Something like this. So if you had to describe – or half a banana. Yeah. Slightly bendy.
JM: So a plantain.
SL: Yeah. That’s what it would be. Yeah. Exactly.
JM: Exactly. There’s a headphone jack on one end, which you could plug in headphones and have it read out words.
SL: Yes. Exactly. We have text to speech, both in Spanish and English. And we’re using just a simple jack.
JM: You do have to plug in the headphones to hear the –
SL: Yes.
JM: -- the text to speech. There’s no speaker on it. There is a USBC charging port.
SL: Absolutely, which we connect to a computer. The function of the USB port is both to charge the device and also to upload content to the device itself. So the way it works is that you connect the device to a computer, and a folder appears on your desktop. And you just have to drag and drop your content, whether it’s PDF, ePub, or TXT.
JM: How much memory is on the device?
SL: We have a card with 8 gigabytes, which means we can probably up load around 8 thousand books.
JM: And it supports several different formats or –
SL: Yes. We support different formats. We support Grade 1, Grade 2, UEB, and – yeah, in terms of languages, Spanish and English. We’re expanding to another 30 languages.
JM: How do you switch between books? There’s only the joystick control and the power slider.
SL: Yeah. So you have a menu. So using the joystick, you go back to the menu, and then you navigate, like, your directory of content. And you pick your book that you want to have at your fingertips.
JM: Okay. So you just kind of go through the menu, and it probably works with the text to speech so you can hear the menu, or –
SL: Yes. Exactly. The menu is always activated with text to speech. The menu has four – has different functions. One of them is to hear the battery level, the charge that’s remaining on the device. We can also choose the language and choose the documents you want to hear.
JM: What is the battery life?
SL: With a full charge, you can read six hours at full speed.
JM: Okay. So this is a product that, you were telling me, has been available in Spain for a couple of years, and now, you’re bringing it to the U.S?
SL: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s available in the U.S. for order, and it’s been on the market in Spain for a little more than two years. We have customers also in South America. I’m sure – the company has been forecast mostly on Spanish-speaking markets so far, and now, we’re expanding to the U.S. and the U.K.
JM: And who is selling it in the U.S., or are you selling it?
SL: We’re selling it. Yeah.
JM: Directly?
SL: Yeah.
JM: How much?
SL: 450 U.S.
JM: 450. All right.
If people want to get more information about this, what’s the best way to do that?
SL: The best way to do that is probably to go to our website,, and leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
JM: Thank you Sebastien.
SL: Thank you, and have a good day.
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Displaying 1 comment.
ilyaru Friday, 08-Feb-2019 5:44 PM ET:

this device is too expensive. in my opinion, it should cost around 50$. you get only 1 braille cell. I don't think someone would buy it for such a price. the idea of one cell is really not practical.

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Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. Industry for 15 years and podcasting about it for almost a decade.

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