Focus 14/40/80 utilities

Focus Blue Braille display drivers

Download the file below to obtain the appropriate Focus 14 Blue, Focus 40 Blue, and Focus 80 Blue drivers. This file contains both the Windows driver and the driver for the Talks screen reader for Symbian-based mobile devices.
Do the following to download and install the Focus 14 Blue, Focus 40 Blue, and Focus 80 Blue display drivers:

  1. Using the link below, download and save the FocusBlueDriver1.0.2030.exe to a location on your computer where you can easily find it, for example, your Downloads folder.
  2. Locate the file and run it. You are asked where you want to extract the contents of the file. Press ENTER to use the default location. A folder called FocusBlueDriver1.0.2030 is created in the Downloads folder. This folder contains the entire contents of the Focus Blue Companion CD.
  3. Open this folder and press ENTER on setup.exe.
  4. When prompted to select the installer language, use the ARROW keys to select a language then choose the Select Language button.
  5. When the Freedom Scientific Focus Setup dialog box opens, do one of the following:
    • Choose the Install Windows driver button to begin the installation on your computer, or,
    • Choose the Install Talks Driver button if you wish to use the Focus display with a Symbian-based cell phone running the Talks screen reader. Make sure your computer is running the Nokia PC Suite software and your phone is connected before continuing, or,
    • Choose the Documentation button to open the folder containing the Focus Blue User Guides as well as the Talks instructions.

Download Focus Blue drivers here.

Focus Blue 5th Generation Firmware Update Procedure

Use this page to download the latest firmware for your Focus Blue 5th Generation refreshable braille display. For more information on using the Focus Blue, visit the Braille Displays Documentation page.

Firmware 5.81-54 resolves several localization issues as well as adds support for opening TXT files created on a Mac.

Focus 5th generation now supports import, export and editing of TXT files in Computer Braille in the following languages:

  • English
  • German
  • Russian
  • Czech
  • Hebrew
  • Slovakian
  • Danish
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Dutch
  • Norwegian
  • Swedish
  • Finnish
  • Polish
  • Turkish
  • French
  • Portuguese

Files must be UTF8 format (selectable when saving in Notepad on the PC) and up to 32K for editing. Files over 32K will be displayed as read-only.

The save as .FNZ feature is still supported to capture raw dot pattern input and export to JAWS to support use with contracted Braille and other languages.

If a Micro SD card (up to 32 GB) is inserted into the display, the Scratchpad enables you to enter notes using uncontracted or contracted braille. No USB or Bluetooth connection is required to use the Scratchpad. For example, if you need to quickly write down a phone number, but you do not have immediate access to your PC or mobile device, you can launch the Scratchpad on your Focus, write down the phone number using the Perkins-style keyboard, and then save it to a file on the Micro SD card.

The Scratchpad offers basic file navigation and editing functions including cut, copy, and paste. You can also search for text in the currently open file. Additionally, if the Focus is currently connected to a computer or other device over USB or Bluetooth, you can export the contents of the current file to the edit window of the currently open application.

The Scratchpad also allows you to open and read braille formatted BRF files from a variety of services including BARD directly on the display. When the Micro SD card is inserted, pressing and holding the Left Panning button while powering on the focus causes the display to be recognized as a removable drive when connected over USB. Once in this mode, BRF books can be transferred directly to the Micro SD card for reading in the Scratchpad.

IMPORTANT: This update is for the Focus 14 Blue and the Focus 40 Blue 5th generation braille displays. DO NOT install this firmware on older Focus 14 Blue, Focus 40 Blue, or Focus 80 Blue braille displays.

The 5th generation Focus Blue braille displays have a Menu button between keys 1 and 4 on the Perkins-style keyboard. If your display has a Menu button, follow these instructions to upgrade the display.

Before You Begin

  • Review this procedure before attempting to update your unit.
  • Make sure JAWS is installed on the computer you will be using for the update. It is not necessary to have JAWS running while updating the unit.
  • Make sure you have the supplied Focus Blue USB cable.
  • When the unit is powered on, press the Menu button and then the top of the left or right Rocker bar to verify the model and current firmware version. If the USB connection is active and JAWS is running, you will need to press the Menu button twice. When finished, press the left Selector button to exit the menu.
  • Download the Focus Blue firmware file below and copy it to a location on your computer where you can easily find it later.

Updating the Focus Blue 5th Generation Firmware

  1. Using the link below, download and save the firmware update file to a location on your computer where you can easily find it, for example, your Downloads folder.
  2. Plug the braille display into your computer’s USB port and wait for the unit to power on
    Note: If the Found New Hardware dialog box appears, follow the messages to locate the driver. .
  3. Run the application file (EXE) for your unit and follow the messages to update the firmware.
    IMPORTANT: Do not disconnect the unit during the update process.
  4. When the update is finished, you may receive a message telling you to close and restart your screen reader before using your braille display.
  5. To verify that the update was successful, press the Menu button (press twice if the USB connection is active) and then the top of the left or right Rocker bar to display the firmware version. The firmware version should be 5.81-54.

Download Focus 5th Firmware 5.81-54

Preparing the Micro SD Card to use the Scratchpad

Before you can use the Scratchpad, you must insert a Micro SD card into the Focus display as files you create are saved directly to the card. BRF books will also need to be copied to the card for reading in the Scratchpad. The Focus supports Micro SD cards up to 32 GB. To insert a Micro SD card, do the following:

WARNING: Under no circumstances should you attempt to insert the card in any other position than as described. Damage to the card or the Focus Blue can result if the card is not properly oriented before being inserted.

  1. Make sure the Focus Blue is powered off.
  2. Turn the display so the left side is facing you. The Micro SD slot is a narrow opening located to the right of the Power button under the bumper.
  3. Hold the card so that the fingernail grip (the raised edge used to grab and remove the card) is pointed toward you and facing down. You will also feel a slight protrusion on the left side as well as a square cutout in the upper left corner. In addition, the printed label on the card should be facing down.
  4. Insert the card into the slot until it clicks into place.

Once the card is inserted, do the following to download and transfer the Scratchpad Help to the card so you can access the documentation right on your display from inside the utility:

  1. Using the link below, download and save the Focus5-SDCard.exe file to a location on your computer where you can easily find it, for example, your Downloads folder.
  2. Locate the file and run it. You are asked where you want to extract the contents of the file. Press ENTER to accept the default location. A folder called fsi is created in the Downloads folder.
  3. On the Focus, press and hold the Left Panning button while simultaneously powering on the display. Connect the Focus to your computer using the supplied
    USB cable, and the display will be recognized as a removable USB drive.

Note: If you use a screen reader such as JAWS over USB, it is recommended that you turn on speech or use a Bluetooth connection as braille will currently
not work over USB when the Focus is being used as a storage device. You will also not be able to use the Scratchpad while in this mode.

  1. On your computer, navigate to the fsi folder and press CTRL+C to copy the entire folder and its contents.
  2. Navigate to and open the USB drive to display the contents of the Micro SD card and press CTRL+V to paste the fsi folder in the root of the card.
  3. Once the folder is transferred, press the APPLICATIONS key on your computer while focused on the USB drive, and choose Eject.
  4. Power the Focus off and back on and simultaneously press the Menu button and the letter N (DOTS 1-3-4-5). The Scratchpad opens to a blank file where you can immediately begin entering text. To open the help file, simultaneously press the Right Shift button and the letter H (DOTS 1-2-5).

Download Scratchpad installation file.

Focus Blue 4th Generation FirmWare upgrade

This firmware update (5.71) adds the Power 1 2 3 feature. Freedom Scientific Focus 14, 40, and 80 Blue braille displays will now have the ability to switch between an active USB connection and a Bluetooth connection with any paired Bluetooth device. If your Focus Blue braille display is connected to your computer using the USB port, you simply press the power button to display the status information, and then press DOTS 1-2-3 from the Perkins-style keyboard on the Focus display. If the Focus has been paired and the device is on, the Focus will immediately begin displaying information from the Bluetooth device. Press the power button and then press DOTS 1-2-3 again to switch back to the USB connection.
When initially pairing the Focus Blue with another Bluetooth device, ensure the display is powered on and not connected to USB. Once paired, you can connect the USB cable and then use this feature to toggle the active connection.
Android and iOS devices must first be locked before the display is switched from USB to Bluetooth connectivity. Once the display is switched to Bluetooth, unlock your mobile device so that it will find the display and begin using it as usual. Once the connection is established, you can switch back and forth using the Power 1 2 3 command without having to first lock and unlock the device.

IMPORTANT: This update is not intended for use on the Classic Focus 40 Blue braille display (the unit that has WHIZWHEELS). A Classic unit is any Focus 40 Blue whose serial number begins with 43 and was purchased prior to July 2012. Updating a Classic Focus 40 Blue with this firmware version may result in your unit becoming unusable. The serial number can be found in print and braille on the bottom of the braille display.

  1. Using the link below, download and save the Focus Blue firmware update file to a location on your computer where you can easily find it, for example, your Downloads folder.
  2. Plug the braille display into your computer’s USB port and wait for the unit to turn on.
    If the Found New Hardware dialog box appears, follow the messages to locate the driver.
  3. Run the application file (EXE) for your unit and follow the messages to update the firmware.
    IMPORTANT: Do not disconnect the unit during the update process.
  4. When the update is finished, you may receive a message telling you to close and restart your screen reader before using your braille display.
  5. To verify that the update was successful, press the unit’s POWER button to display firmware information. The firmware version should be 5.71.

Download firmware 5.71 upgrade for Focus Blue here.