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Reading books from NNELS on an Actilino

Many NNELS titles can be accessed on an Actilino braille display without needing to connect the display to the phone or computer while reading. This means that no matter where you are and regardless of whether you have access to a phone or computer nearby, your books will always be accessible on the device. This tutorial will walk you through downloading title(s), transferring them onto your device, and opening them on your display.

Downloading Titles

Before transferring books to the braille display, we need to download them. If you are unfamiliar with the process of finding and downloading books, please check out the following tutorials:

When you find titles available in multiple formats, you may be wondering which is the right one for the display.

The Actilino reads .brf (Braille Ready Files) and .txt (text file) files. However, the HT Com program for Windows will take files in other text-based formats like .docx (and convert them into a format that Actilino can read. Note that the conversion is automated, so the quality of braille transcription from the program may vary. We suggest downloading .brf titles in our repository for the smoothest reading experience. If a title you wish to read is not in our repository and/or in your preferred format, you are welcome to submit a book request. Note that some titles in .brf may be packaged as a zip file if the book has been split into multiple files so that you can download the entire book without clicking on multiple links.

Transferring Books onto Your Device

There are a few ways to put books onto your display. You can transfer them from your computer directly via the USB cable using the file explorer or by using the HTCom program. As of the time of writing, the USB A port on the right side of the device does not support USB sticks or storage devices, so transferring files by copying or moving them between devices does not work. We will go over the two available methods step-by-step in the sections below.

Method 1: Transferring books directly from your computer using the Windows file manager

Note that the following instructions only apply to Windows users. There does not appear to be a direct way of transferring files from a Mac to the display via a USB cable.

  1. Turn on the unit if powered off or wake it from standby mode.
  2. On your computer, navigate to the folder where you have saved the downloaded files.
  3. Copy or cut the file(s) you wish to put on the display. Note that if a title is zipped up, you must unzip it before transferring it to the device.
  4. Connect the USB cable from the computer to the braille display. You will hear a sound from your unit and computer, indicating the connection is successful. If you do not hear a sound, you may have a broken cable or one that does not support data transfer. We recommend using the USB-C cable that comes with the unit, but any USB-C cable that supports charging and data transfer will work.
  5. On the computer, navigate to “USB Drive,” which should now be available from Windows Explorer and select it. You may be able to get to it from the desktop by selecting “Computer” and then clicking on “USB Drive.” Note that if the display goes to sleep, the drive disappears, so ensure that the device is out of standby mode before locating the drive.
  6. When you plug in your display, you may get a popup menu asking what you want to do with the device. You can select the “Open folder to view files” option from here to open the drive.
  7. Paste your file(s).

Method 2: Transferring books directly from your computer using the HTCom Program

HTCom offers a convenient way to transfer and convert content to and from your device. The program must be downloaded and installed before we use it to transfer our file(s). Download the HT Com program from this page, then follow the instructions below.

  1. Turn on the unit if it is powered off or wake it up from standby mode.
  2. Connect the USB cable from the computer to the braille display. You will hear a sound from your unit and computer, indicating the connection is successful. If you do not hear a sound, you may have a broken cable or one that does not support data transfer. We recommend using the USB-C cable that comes with the unit, but any USB-C cable that supports charging and data transfer will work.
  3. When you plug in your display, you may get a popup menu asking what you want to do with the device. Dismiss the popup. If you did not get a popup, move on to step 4.
  4. Navigate to "HTCom" on your desktop and open it.
  5. Select the "Send file" button. Select the file(s) you want to transfer and press "OK."
  6. Now, it will ask if you want to use a braille translator. Since you are sending human transcribed .brfs, ensure that "no translator" is selected and that "always use the default translator" and "Never use braille contraction" are unchecked. Then select "OK". The transfer will now begin.

Opening Books

Books can be opened through the file manager Once your file(s) have been transferred. To open  a file:
1. From the main menu, navigate to “file manager”.
2. Navigate to the file you want to open.
3. Select it. A new menu will appear, allowing you to edit, view, cut, copy, etc. Select view. The file will load, and then you can begin reading.