top of page

Activator News:
Firmware Version 1.4

Download Firmware Version 1.4 here.

What's new in Version 1.4?

 1. Direct USB-C cable connectivity to iPhone 15 and/or iPads with a C port.

The Activator now supports direct connectivity to the iPhone 15 and the HelpTech Plus app using the USB-C port and a C-to-C cable. This functionality is available now, but rest assured, the new USB-C SmartDocks are on their way. iPhone 15 users who purchase(d) the Activator before March 31, 2024, can exchange their Lightning SmartDock for the new USBC SmartDock at no charge. (Some restrictions apply; see notes below.) Additionally, replacement SmartDocks are available for $195.

To use the new USB-C mode, select iOS device in the Options Menu. This mode allows you to connect the Activator to the iPhone 15 or an iPad with a USB-C port, giving you access to all the functions of the HelpTech+ app.

Beginning with iOS 17, the iPhone starts VoiceOver with Braille control automatically when the Activator is detected. Simply connect and turn on the Activator and off you go.


 2. Direct transfer of DOCX and PDF files from iPhone to Activator with convenient OCR access to image based text.

In the latest version of the HelpTech+ App, Version 1.4, you can now transfer the contents of a DOCX or PDF file directly to the Activator. This even works with image based content that would otherwise be inaccessible. When transferring a DOCX or PDF file to the Activator, HelpTech+ automatically asks if the content should be transferred in addition to the file itself. If you select yes, the contents of the file are transmitted to the Activator as textual information.

For example, "MyNote.docx" becomes "MyNote.TXT" in the Activator. A PDF is also saved under the original file name followed by the .TXT file extension.

In the case of purely graphical PDF files, the textual content is recognized with excellent character recognition (OCR) and transmitted to the Activator. This even works with JPG, PNG, and HEIF files.

 3. New Braille Chat feature in the update to the HelpTech Plus app.

The new Braille Chat feature in the HelpTech+ App takes communication between sighted and deaf-blind individuals to a whole new level. 

Braille Chat can be started under Smart Services in the internal menu or by typing [SPC+1+4+7] in Braille or Ctrl+Shift+C on the keyboard.

This opens the HelpTech+ App and displays a chat view.

The deaf-blind user can start typing immediately, and when they hit Enter, their text will be displayed and spoken as a chat on the iPhone. e.g. "Hello, how are you?". The sighted person can answer with the onscreen keyboard, or even easier, press the microphone icon and begin talking. Their response appears on the braille display. 

Both the deaf-blind user and the sighted user can review the chat history independently. When you start typing a new message, the focus automatically jumps to the end of the chat history on the corresponding page.

When the sighted individual is typing or speaking text, the Activator vibrates to ensure that the deaf-blind person recognizes that a new message is being entered.

Using the Tab key switches between input and read mode on the Activator, while preserving the chat history of the current conversation. ESC also switches from input torRead mode, but in this case the chat history will be discarded.

The sighted individual’s text is indented by 2 spaces on the braille display. The deaf-blind user's input is shown left-aligned. In input mode, the braille display shows "Chat:_".

When you're in the chat history, you don't have to press Tab to type a message. You can start typing right away and the focus jumps automatically to the input field.

 4. Quick-type One-handed mode.

The Activator now offers one-handed Braille input. To launch one-handed Braille mode, hold down the center left navigation key (n2) while powering on the Activator. Note, this can be done comfortably with either hand.

Characters can be entered using either the left half of the keypad (dots 1,2,3) or the right half (dots 4,5,6). When typing, the left half of the Braille character is entered first, followed by the right half. e.g. If you want to type the letter p with your left hand, press the dots 1+2+3 followed by dot 1. In order to type p with your right hand, press dots 4+5+6 followed by dot 4.

If one half of the character has no dots, like the letter L (dots 1+2+3),  the space bar (SPC) is pressed in place of the missing dots. So, to type the letter L using your right hand, you would type dots 4+5+6, followed by pressing the Spacebar. To type the letter L with your left hand, you would type dots 1+2+3, then the spacebar. If you wish to enter a space character, press the spacebar twice.

Additionally, if you are able to reach dots on both the left and right side simultaneously to form a character, like the letters c, e, or i, those inputs will also be recognized, even in one-handed mode. 

To enter chord commands in one-handed mode, hold the space bar while typing the given character. For example, to exit the editor with Chord e, hold down either spacebar as you type the letter e with any of the above mentioned methods. Even when typing Braille with JAWS and NVDA, our one-handed Braille input can be used.

This is easier in practice than it may sound. Give it a try. You should find one-handed mode on the Activator faster and more efficient than the one-handed mode on other devices.

Help Tech has an extensive road map of exciting innovations yet to come. The Help Tech team would welcome your suggestions for the next generation of Braille displays in the workplace.

Coming soon:

 1. The ability to update Activator firmware via the HelpTech Plus app on your iPhone or iPad.

 2. Activator Pro in 64-cell and 80-cell models.

Every idea, no matter how wild, is welcome. As the saying goes: "You have to try the impossible in order to achieve the possible" (quote from Hermann Hesse).

Send your suggestions to Or, contact Dream Vision Group and we will be happy to share your feedback. Thank you for your interest in the Activator.

More on the


from Help Tech GmbH

the world's first integrated iPhone Braille Solution!


The Activator is Help Tech's latest innovation. This future-oriented 40-cell Braille display houses unprecedented hardware and software solutions in a modern, sleek design.


With just a flick of the wrist, the patent-pending, multifunctional, ergonomically designed Braille keyboard unfolds to become a QWERTY keyboard.


The included SmartDock connects directly to your iPhone, turning the Activator into a mobile workstation, exceeding the functionality of traditional Bluetooth connections.


Enhance the Activator with the iOS HelpTech+ App with functions such as speech input to braille output with Grade 2 and UEB translation.


With a compact, modern aluminum and plastic housing, the Activator’s lightweight ergonomic design includes ultra-flat keys with tactile switch characteristics and redesigned triple action keys. Plus, the concave Braille cells and patented ATC technology extend the proven features of the Handy Tech Active Series.

Check out this video!

and contact Dream Vision Group for more information

bottom of page