DeafBlind Communicator

HumanWare, in partnership with the Washington State Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH), developed a deafblind communication system. The DeafBlind Communicator (DBC) is the result of collaboration between deafblind individuals and focus groups, professionals from both the deaf and blind communities, and HumanWare’s engineering and marketing teams. The basic DBC provides three types of communication for deafblind users: face-to-face, TTY, and SMS Texting. (Other more powerful features can be activated by the user if desired).

Two Portable Components are Easy to Carry

The DBC consists of two separate components that deafblind users can easily carry wherever they go. The main unit is the DB BrailleNote which is a BrailleNote mPower (Perkins and QWERTY models available) with special deafblind software installed in it. The companion unit is the DB-Phone which is a special cell phone with a visual display and a QWERTY keyboard that also has unique deafblind software installed in it. These two components communicate wirelessly with each other using Bluetooth.

DeafBlind Communicator

HumanWare’s new DeafBlind Communicator opens a world of communication possibilities for people who are deaf and blind!   

Keeping It Simple with KeySoft

The DBC is designed to be simple and straight forward with the goal of enabling any Braille user to learn to use it with minimal training. The DBC uses a condensed form of BrailleNote mPower’s notoriously friendly user interface called KeySoft. Easy-to-use menus enable users to quickly find the applications they need and context sensitive “help” is always available in every application to guide and remind the user of options and commands.

TTY Integrated into the DB-BrailleNote

The DB-BrailleNote has the land-line connector and special TTY software built right into it making a separate TTY unnecessary. From the chat menu, DBC lets the user enter a telephone number of a TTY or relay service and then either store that number in an address book for future use or make the call and proceed with a TTY conversation. The DBC also has an answering machine built into it.

SMS Texting to Other Cell Phone Users

Text messaging is fast becoming one of the most frequent forms of communication between cell phone users. A SIM card can be purchased from a wireless provider and installed in the DB-Phone. Following the same basic steps used when activating a TTY call, DBC users can choose to activate the DB-Phone to send text messages. Because of the wireless Bluetooth connection, DBC users never need to access the phone directly. Everything is controlled right from the DB-BrailleNote.

Face-to-face Communication Wherever You Go

DBC users can now communicate with bus drivers, waiters, shop clerks, sighted friends and family, etc. by simply activating a face-to-face chat. By following a simple menu on the DB-BrailleNote, the DB-Phone can be activated and handed to a sighted person. It’s easy to keep track of the DB-Phone as it has a retractable security tether. A message is both spoken and displayed on the DB-Phone stating, “Hi, I’m blind and I can’t hear. To communicate with me, type a message on this keyboard and press (the return arrow).” Whatever the sighted person types on the DB-Phone in text is sent to the DB-BrailleNote user and displayed in Braille. The DBC user can then type a response on the DB-BrailleNote and send it to the DB-Phone and so the conversation continues.

Communication with Other BrailleNote and DBC Users

Not only can the DBC work in face-to-face situations with sighted people using the DB-Phone, but it can also communicate with other DBC users and even other BrailleNote mPower users.

Activating mPower Applications

Those users who are ready for a more sophisticated system can choose to activate the full power of the BrailleNote mPower. Applications like a word processor with spell checker, planner, email, Internet browser, and bookreader are among the applications included once activated. (For more information on the BrailleNote mPower, check out the product section on HumanWare’s website).

DBC Model
(choice of QWERTY or Braille Keyboard)
DBC 32 Braille Cells
DBC 18 Braille Cells


Please contact us at 1 800 722-3393 or use the Sales query form if you have any questions about this product.