ACB 2011 wrap-up featuring LevelStar orion and Braille t-shirts, part 3

This final installment of the ACB wrap-up focuses on two exhibitors at opposite ends of the access spectrum.  One high tech, one no tech.  What do they have in common?  Both make ingenious use of Braille.


If you don’t already have an Apple iPad, it is likely you want one.  If you don’t want one, you likely have one of the competing tablet PC’s.  If not, then you either prefer hieroglyphics or, like me, there are about ten thousand things you need to spend the money on first.

One reason, though, you may have skipped the tablet craze might have more to do with accessibility and the desire to have one gadget do many things, instead of carrying several hand-held devices that serve a variety of purposes.  I found myself intrigued by the LevelStar Orion.


Here’s the scoop, right from the literature, about Orion 18:

Packed with the most advanced features ever integrated into a Braille notetaker, like cellular phone and 3G communications, full  GPS navigation, and a camera with text recognition, the sleek Orion 18 Braille tablet by LevelStar is compact enough to fit in a  purse or coat pocket. Orion combines its quiet and stunningly ergonomic Braille keyboard with an 18-cell Braille display and  router keys, talks with human-like Ivona Speech, and is The World’s first notetaker for the blind powered by Android, the fastest  growing mobile environment in the World.


There seems to be a dichotomy in the access community about whether or not mainstream gadgets should be made accessible, or whether devices specialized for people with disabilities are preferable.  I can understand both points of view.  The benefit of having a specialized gadget is that presumably, the manufacturers "get it," hopefully innovating with a complete understanding of the needs of the population they serve.


On the other hand, specialized gadgets can be prohibitively expensive, and if mainstream options can be made accessible, then the price usually goes down in proportion to the size of the market.  Simple supply and demand.


On Monday, July the 25th, at 8:00 PM Eastern Time, Tek Talk will feature the LevelStar Orion 18 Braille tablet during a one hour- long program. Following a product presentation and demonstration by Marc Mulcahy, Marc and Guido will answer your questions live.


How to participate:
Approximately 15 minutes prior to the event start time; link to The Pat Price Tek Talk Training Room at:

Alternatively, Select The Pat Price Tek Talk Training Room at:
Enter your first and last names on the sign-in screen.

Want more info?  Tek Talk is a feature of Accessible World, a division of Helping Hands For The Blind, a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit organization. For  more information about Accessible World and Tek talk, please Contact:
Robert Acosta, Chair
Accessible World


Among the exhibitors at most trade shows, you’ll often find the requisite selection of souvenirs, whether in the form of customized promotional swag, gift shop fare, or T shirts.  At the ACB 2011 event, however, you would have found Braille T Shirts by Alice Lynch.


Alice is an artist who creates her Braille T Shirts using metal dots or sparkly crystals, all set by hand.  In training as a certified Braille transcriptionist, Alice sets the dots according to appropriate specs for proportion and spacing, making her shirts eminently readable, as well as fashionable.  You can find her here: and follow her on Twitter here:  @brailletshirts.
Please share your own reviews of products or services exhibited at ACB 2011.  Anything blow you away not mentioned here?  Don’t forget to read my previous posts, parts 1 and 2 of the wrap-up.


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