No, it doesn't have a Braille display. It has an array of very small vibrating pins which come up similar to a Braille display, but in the shape of the letter the camera is on. As you move the camera, the pins rise and fall, giving a very good representation of moving across the page. The original Optacon had an array of six vertical rows of twenty-four collumns. The second version was shortened to five rows, if I recall correctly. I have one of the original versions. They did not come up with anything to take its place. They stopped making Optacons about ten years ago or so. They were made by Telesensory Systems, which was merged with some other companies to create Freedom Scientific a few years ago. As far as I know, FS has no plans to resurrect the Optacon or create anything similar to it. I remember hearing some time ago on the web about some research project or other to create something like the Optacon, but also with speech, but I haven't heard anything about that lately. You might try doing a search on "Optacon Replacement", or something and see what you come up with. Take care. ----- Original Message ----- From: shannon To: bookshare-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2006 5:26 AM Subject: [bookshare-discuss] about the optacan Evan, Thank you for the answer. That does sound like a really great thing. It is too bad that they don't make it anymore. What did they come up with to take it's place. I would think a toy like that would be in great demand? It sounds kind of like a CCTV only instead of a TV, it has a brail display. Do I have that right? Shannon ----- Original Message ----- From: Evan Reese To: bookshare-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 8:02 PM Subject: [bookshare-discuss] Re: Just Downloaded My First Book for Validation Optacon is a - I forget the word for it - a condensed word meaning optical to tactile converter. It uses a camera you move over the page with one hand and the print is converted into an image of vibrating pins which you read with the index finger of the other hand. Very useful not only for reading print but also looking at raised-line drawings and graphs. Most people - including myself - can't read very fast with it, but it's great for short stuff and I use it especially for math, which doesn't scan well. I also use it to check scanning errors that aren't obvious from the context on stuff I scan, and now on stuff I will validate. Unfortunately, the Optacon is no longer manufactured. ----- Original Message ----- From: shannon To: bookshare-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 1:03 PM Subject: [bookshare-discuss] Re: Just Downloaded My First Book for Validation Hello Evan, I have a kind of unrelated question I am on a couple of lists and recently I have heard Optacon allot. What is an Optacon? Thanks Shannon ----- Original Message ----- From: Evan Reese To: bookshare-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2006 1:04 PM Subject: [bookshare-discuss] Just Downloaded My First Book for Validation I just downloaded my first book for validation. It's _In The Ruins_ by Kate Elliott, Crown of Stars Volume 6. It was submitted on November 17, so it's been up there for a while. The submitter put it in the Fair category, and by the looks of things, that's about right. I've noticed quite a few errors just in the first few pages. Also, the copyright information was not provided, so I put that in. I'm picking up a paper copy this afternoon from a local bookstore. If it had been categorized as excellent, I might not have bothered, but I might have gotten one anyway - preferably from my local library - but they didn't have one. I would prefer to have a paper copy in case there's a scanning error that I can't figure out. I have an Optacon, so I at least don't have to ask someone sighted what's on the page if I run into trouble. I've been wanting to read this book since it came out last August, though, so I'm going to read right through it. However, if the errors are too many and too egregious, I just may scan the whole thing in again. It might come out better - my OpenBook does a pretty good job, especially with hardcovers and trade paperbacks. It might be more effective timewise than trying to puzzle out garbled text. Hopefully that won't be necessary. I'm a little nervous, this being my first book and all. I hope I do things correctly. By the way, is there a keyboard shortcut for the Copyright symbol? I just used alt-169 at the beginning of the book where it's supposed to be, but I was wondering if there is a keyboard combination for that? Just curious. I also subscribed to the volunteer discussion list. I was a little intimidated at first by the 50 messages per day figure cited on the website, but I figure that it may not be as bad as all that; it isn't as though I have to read all of them.