The DPRC offers a number of specialized braille devices for blind or visually impaired users.
Refreshable Braille Display
Refreshable braille displays are electronic devices used to read text tactually that is typically displayed visually on a computer monitor. The refreshable braille display is connected to the computer by a serial or USB cable and produces braille output (with small plastic or metal pins that move up and down to display the braille characters) for the reader.
Electronic Braille Notetakers
Electronic braille notetakers are small, portable devices with braille keyboards for entering information. They use a speech synthesizer or braille display for output. The user enters the information on the braille keyboard and has the option of transferring it to a larger computer with more memory, reviewing it using the built in speech synthesizer or braille display, or printing it on a braille or inkprint printer.
Braille printers receive data from computer devices and emboss that information in Braille onto paper through the use of solenoids that control embossing pins. Braille printers typically print on heavyweight paper and use up more pages for the same amount of information than pages printed on a regular printer. They are also slower and noisier. Interpoint printers are Braille printers that emboss Braille on both sides of a page.
The Perkins Brailler is a manually-operated machine used to write braille. The Perkins Brailler is a "braille typewriter" with a key corresponding to each of the six dots of the braille code. By simultaneously pressing different combinations of the six keys, users can create any of the characters in the braille code. Like a manual typewriter, it has two side knobs to advance paper through the machine and a carriage return lever above the keys. The rollers that hold and advance the paper have grooves designed to avoid crushing the raised dots the brailler creates.
The DPRC has a few Perkins Braillers that are available for loan upon request.
Note: Above information and descriptions of braille devices adapted from AFB website