2004 Conference Proceedings

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PAC Mate QX400 and BX400-Mainstream Extensibility for the Blind

Presenter(s)
Glen Gordon
Chief Technology Officer
Freedom Scientific B/LV Group
11800 31st Court North
St. Petersburg, Florida 33716
Phone: 800-444-4443
Email: gleng@freedomscientific.com

Brad Davis
VP Hardware Product Management
Freedom Scientific B/LV Group
11800 31st Court North
St. Petersburg, Florida 33716
Phone: 800-444-4443
Email: bradd@freedomscientific.com

PAC Mate is a portable computer or personal data assistant for those who are blind. It provides a link between everyday desktop applications and the needs of busy lifestyles. When it was introduced in 2002, it became the first accessible Pocket PC device in the world, meaning blind people were able to gain direct access to the same mainstream, popular software programs as their sighted counterparts. The QX400 and BX400 have built upon the original PAC Mate interface by adding functionality and the much-anticipated integrated, refreshable Braille option.

The modular design implementing a 20 or 40-cell Braille Display option has taken the needs of blind users into account to provide flexibility that translates to convenience and affordability.

Since the Braille displays on these integrated solutions are detachable and USB-driven, you can enjoy numerous advantages:

Using ActiveSync to synchronize with the desktop, these PAC Mates allow users to rapidly exchange files, keep a full backup current on their desktops and take their email, calendar, tasks, and contacts with them.

An Infrared port supports easy document sharing with PDAs and other PAC Mates. In addition to being a convenient way to exchange contact and calendar information, we will also demonstrate how Irda can send a file to a printer or synchronize with the desktop.

The demonstration will also include various media players supported on the PAC Mate to play media from a compact flash card or from the web. The dual channel sound allows JAWS to still be used while media plays. The support for the Audible Player from Audible.com will also be demonstsrated for access to this high quality subscription content service.

PAC Mate comes with the Pocket PC 2003 applications, including Pocket Internet Explorer. While demonstrating the range of connectivity options, this presentation will show the ease of browsing with JAWS and Pocket Internet Explorer. Easy access to information that was heretofore bound to the desktop will be demonstrated with Avantgo.

Using ScanTalker, the add-on barcode application for PAC Mate, we will demonstrate how of-the-shelf peripherals and a database program extend the PAC Mate to provide a portable "virtual label reader" for the blind making the printed matter on everyday products accessible.

Participants will come away with a good understanding of the product, and its broad potential in the universe of adaptive technology.


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