BrailleSense Polaris braille notetaker with a 32 cell refreshable braille display

BrailleSense Polaris: April 2020 Firmware Upgrade

BrailleSense Polaris firmware upgrade

This month, HIMS released the BrailleSense Polaris firmware upgrade. Since my students use Google Drive to access and share files, they were highly anticipating this upgrade so they could directly open, read, edit, and save changes to files within Google Drive from the File Manager. Unfortunately, my academic high school student was extremely disappointed because only .docx files are support.  When a Google Doc file is selected and activated, the Polaris announces “copying unsupported file type.” When I reported this to HIMS tech support, they were not aware of this issue and needed to look into it further before informing me only .docx files were intended to be supported. For students whose teachers only upload .docx files, they can take full advantage of the Google upgrades. My high school student and I are in agreement that it would be more functional for Google Docs to also be supported as teachers in her school only use Google native apps to provide students their work. The other feature of the update includes allowing users to create and save files directly from the Word Processor to Google Drive in the File Manager.

Since we want students to develop good trouble shooting skills, I think it is important to note that the release notes and updated user manual provide limited information about the new features of Google Drive. As the TVI, I spent hours between reading, troubleshooting, and contacting tech support to find out the full capabilities of Google Drive with the upgrade. Based on feedback from an adult end user as well as a student, it was clear that a downfall of the upgrade is the lack of support for accessing Google Docs directly through Google Drive. 

Here are directions for saving a Word Processor file to Google Drive. 

Note: Sometimes, the tree view will show the name of a folder within Google Drive. Use your scroll keys to navigate to the folder where you want to save the file before going to Confirm. My student and I also have found that the word processing document does not always save to a specific folder, but instead to the root of Google Drive. 

If your student has difficulty accessing Google Drive from the File Manager, double check under the Android System Settings in the Settings Menu from the Main Menu that the student is logged in through his/her Google account.

If needed, a soft or hard reset can also be completed. 

To complete a soft reset, press F2 + F3 + Dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. 

To complete a hard reset of the device, press the Power button and the Fast Forward button at the same time (button to left of power button). You will hear two beeps and the Polaris will restart.

Below is a link to the firmware upgrade, release notes, directions to complete the upgrade and the updated User Guide.











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