BRLTTY is a background application that runs in UNIX/Linux and that provides access the Linux/UNIX console for a person using a refreshable Braille display, which is connected to the computer. BRLTTY also serves as a driver for the connected device so that it will run on a UNIX/Linux computer. Like all of the software I review here, BRLTTY is open source. Let’s take a look at what it can do for its users.
BRLTTY is feature-rich. These include the usual screen review facilities one would expect to find, as well as cursor options (block, underline or none) and underlining for highlighted text. One feature that I thought was wonderful was screen freezing. This allows users to review output at their leisure. Intelligent cursor routing allows for users to readily fetch the cursor in such applications as a word processor or Web browser without having to move their hands from the Braille display. There are far more features available than I could cover here.
In terms of capabilities, BRLTTY has much to offer. For example, it can be configured to run at system start-up to help users log onto the system. It supports scrolling back to review prior messages (those that came up during the boot process for example). BRLTTY supports video modes which offer more columns and/or rows than the default 80×25. It also offers basic speech support and a preferences menu. Supported Braille displays include those manufactured by Alva, HandyTech and B2GBaum among others. Voice synthesizers supported include, but are not limited to, eSpeak, GenericSay and Alva.
If you’re in need of a full-featured console for a refreshable Braille display for a UNIX/Linux system, BRLTTY should meet your needs.
BRLTTY [computer software]. (n.d.). GNU General Public License.
BRLTTY man page. (22 December 2015). GNU General Public License.
Figure 1 retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plage-braille.jpg.
Figure 2 retrieved from httsp://asd-hs.wikispaces.com/file/view/braille-alphabet.jpg.