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Freedom Scientific Reduces Price of Focus 40 Blue Braille Display by 38% to Support Drive for Braille Literacy

(St. Petersburg, Florida - March 03, 2010)

Freedom Scientific® today announced that it has reduced the U.S. list price of its Focus 40 Blue Braille Display from $4,495 to $2,795, a $1,700 reduction, in a move to support Braille literacy.

The National Federation of the Blind, in their report from the Jernigan Institute, has declared that there is a "Braille Literacy Crisis in America," citing such statistics as:

  • Fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million people who are legally blind in the United States are Braille readers
  • Only 10 percent of blind children in the United States are learning Braille
  • Over 70 percent of blind adults are unemployed, and as many as 50 percent of blind high school students drop out of high school

The factors that contribute to a low Braille literacy rate in the U.S. are many, among them a shortage of qualified Braille teachers and an increasing reliance on recorded audio and text-to-speech technologies.

"We believe that technology should be supporting Braille literacy, not replacing it," states Dr. Lee Hamilton, President and CEO of Freedom Scientific. "The combination of JAWS® and a Braille display makes learning and using Braille easy. JAWS can translate almost any electronic document or Web page into Braille and then display it on the FOCUS 40 Blue. JAWS also has a built-in Braille tutor that works with the Focus 40 Blue to provide immediate spoken help when the reader encounters an unfamiliar Braille symbol. This makes independent Braille study easier, as it can be used with any document of interest to the student. With a computer and a Braille display, a person who is Braille literate can carry hundreds of books on a single memory card or USB thumb drive.

"Unfortunately, Braille displays have always been expensive, which has meant that not everyone who wanted a Braille display could get one. Freedom Scientific wants to open the world of Braille to as many blind people as possible. We first drastically reduced the cost of Braille displays in 2004, when we introduced models 40 percent below the average price of currently available Braille displays. We are pleased that the manufacturing efficiencies inherent in our latest product design make it possible for us to reduce prices once again; we hope this will make Braille accessible to many more people."

The Focus 40 Blue is a compact portable Braille display that is the perfect companion to a desktop, laptop, or netbook PC. It connects via USB or Bluetooth® and has a Braille keyboard. The 40 Braille cells are constructed without seams between characters, so the user experience is like reading Braille on paper. The Focus 40 Blue works with Apple computers and cell phones as well as with JAWS for Windows.

Freedom Scientific's Braille displays are the most reliable in the industry and are backed by technical support and service teams based in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The new U.S./Canada list price for the Focus 40 Blue is USD 2,795 and includes a two-year manufacturer's warranty.

For more information, please visit the Freedom Scientific website or call 800-444-4443.

About Freedom Scientific

Freedom Scientific is a leading worldwide brand of assistive technology products for those with vision impairments. Freedom Scientific is part of Vispero™. Vispero has its headquarters in the USA and the Netherlands, and offices in Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. Through Vispero's multi-tier distribution, Freedom Scientific products are available in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Freedom Scientific® and its products are registered trademarks in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.