Humanware has released The Humanware Communicator app for iOS, priced at a staggering $99.99 US. From the description:
The HumanWare Communicator application is intended to establish a text conversation between a deaf-blind person and a sighted person. All interaction appears both on the deaf-blind person’s refreshable Braille display, as well as visually on the screen of the iOS device.
Using a Bluetooth connection, pair a HumanWare Brailliant braille display or a BrailleNote apex with any of Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad). With Apple’s screen reader (VoiceOver) enabled, the braille device will be able to control the iOS tool, along with showing all text in Braille on the Braille display.
When the HumanWare Communicator app is launched, and a new conversation is started, the sighted participant will be presented with a visual introduction message on the screen of the iOS device. This introduction message is customizable and once the sighted user taps the OK button, the conversation will begin. The deaf-blind user typing their messages on the Braille input keyboard, and the sighted participant using the touch screen keyboard for their portion of the conversation. All interactions can be read by the deaf-blind user using the refreshable Braille display. Please note that for longer conversations, a traditional Bluetooth keyboard can also be paired with the iOS device to facilitate faster text input from the sighted participant.
Given that iOS natively supports Braille displays and includes text entry apps such as Notes and communication apps like Messages, it seems that a very comparable result could be obtained without the outrageous price tag of $99.99.
Coming on the heels of the more widespread attention focussed on the BrailleNote battery controversy in the last week, users may wish to research this app carefully before deciding that it is really something they need, and that its minimal functionality is worth $100 to them.