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Regardless of how you enter text, you have Braille Star's editor at your disposal. This is a fully functioning editor with a variety of features, such as cut and copy, insert or overtype modes, and the ability to set up to 10 bookmarks per file. Files can be sent between the Braille Star 40 and a ALVA Braille Display using a supplied communications program. These files can be either text files or Grade 2 braille files, such as web-braille books. The Braille Star 40 has four megabytes of available memory for storing such files. Once a file is stored, it can be viewed, opened for editing, or deleted. The Braille Star does not give you the ability to rename files or to organize them in any type of directory structure.

Braille on Display: The ALVA Satellite Traveler and the Braille Star

The Braille Star 40 does not have any type of braille-translation capabilities. That is, files are stored and transmitted exactly as they are entered. So, if you use the braille input keys to compose a document and transmit that document to your PC, you will have a document in Grade 2 braille on your computer. Or if you send a text ALVA Braille Display to the Braille Star, you will have to read that document in computer braille.

Use an Alva BC680 display with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Menu System While in editor mode, the Braille Star offers an extensive menu system. These menus can be used to save and retrieve files, check the status of the device, change numerous options, and load different braille tables. Braille Star uses braille tables to decide which dots should make up each braille character for menus ALVA Braille Display messages. This feature comes in handy when you are working with multiple languages.


The Braille Star 40 is powered by four user-replaceable rechargeable batteries. According to the manual, when fully charged, these batteries should last for ALVA Braille Display 20 hours of use. The batteries can be fully recharged in approximately 3 hours, and the Braille Star is fully operational while charging.

Native driver for ALVA Satellite braille displays · Issue # · nvaccess/nvda · GitHub

The status menu contains several items that give current information on ALVA Braille Display batteries. This information is, however, in a submenu of the status menu entitled ACCU. It is unclear what ACCU stands for, but placing this information under this heading may be confusing for a new user of the product.

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These versatile displays have been around for a number of years. This cell display is the newest product in the satellite series and can run exclusively on USB power.

Thus, no batteries or power cord are necessary when using the display as a USB device. When connected to a computer via a serial port, an external power supply can be used to power the Traveler.


This loss of on-board batteries significantly reduces the weight of the unit. This lighter-weight sibling still has all the features of the other products in the satellite series. These features include two rows of cursor-routing keys, two sets of six keys for controlling Windows and screen-reader functions, six ALVA Braille Display keys for scrolling the display, and a menu system for changing numerous aspects of the display. All this in an ergonomically designed case. With most screen readers, the bottom row of keys serves as traditional cursor-routing keys. The top row of cursor routing keys, or Double Touch cursors, can serve a variety of functions, depending on which screen reader is driving the display.

These keys can execute actions, such as a right mouse click on a single character, or announce additional information about a character, such as its attribute information—underline, bold, and so forth. The Satellite also contains two six-key Satellite Keypads, positioned below and at either end of the line of braille cells.

ALVA refers to these keypads as the Windows keypad and the screen-reader keypad. True to their names, they allow you to control Windows and basic screen-reader functions. While the screen reader decides which of these keys will do what, ALVA's menu system provides the ability to reverse these keypads. If your Windows keypad is located on the left keypad, for example, and you are left-handed and want to access ALVA Braille Display functions mapped to the screen-reader keypad quickly, you could easily reverse the role of these keypads to suit your needs. What Is My Status? Offering 40 Braille cells, an optional built-in screen reader and ALVA Braille Display range integrated Bluetooth technology, the ALVA Braille Controller wirelessly connects to your computer, smart phone or tablet without having to install a driver.

The ALVA BC guarantees a paper-like. High quality Braille display offering a seamless line of 80 refreshable Braille characters.

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