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I have completed a 30-day evaluation of five talking scientific calculators and have constructed a chart comparing the various features of these calculators and listing possible vendors if you choose to make a purchase. No one calculator has everything for all people. You will need to assess your needs or those of your student and make your choice based on your unique situation. In the near future I will be adding my own personal comments and those of my students. In addition, I hope to add comments from others. I encourage you to write me with your comments (whether good or bad) so that they may be shared. You make the choice of whether you wish to be named or remain anonymous. As new products become available, I will try to evaluate those as well and make additions to the chart.

At this time I would like to express my thanks to Maxi Aids, Independent Living Aids, Inc. and Orbit Research for graciously loaning me their products for this evaluation.

There are also several software programs available (often free and supplied with various hardware products). Several years ago I had three students simultaneously using the scientific calculator (with earphones) on their respective Keynotes for a Trigonometry class, and it met our limited needs. As a math teacher and Nemeth Code user, I want my students to be able to tactually "see" their work, so I was very pleased with the addition of a refreshable braille display to various pieces of hardware. (See: http://www.blazie.co.uk/ or http://www.humanware.com/Text/E/E1/E1.html) My students have been using the Braille Lite, and we really like its compactness and quietness, especially for mainstream classes. Blazie has extended the capabilities of its scientific calculator to enable it to produce graphics on a braille printer. (See: "BRAILLE 'n SPEAK--UNLOCKING DOORS TO MATH FOR BLIND STUDENTS.")

The latest technological need for the blind is a talking graphing calculator with the sophistication of the TI-8? series. Graphing calculators are now required as a part of an end of course test in Algebra I in Texas, and they are often a requirement in advanced mathematics classrooms across the U.S.

FEATURES OF THE TALKING SCIENTIFIC CALCULATORS (page 1)
  CAPTEK DIGI-VOICE 
Scientific Calculator #1420
CAPTEK DIGI-VOICE
Statistical Calculator
#1423
CAPTEK DIGI-VOICE Financial Calculator #1425
Physical Description 25 keys
4" by 8" by 3" height in rear
12 round keys; 13 square keys
visual display
Not actually evaluated; described as similar to the scientific calculator with additional keys added for the statistical functions. (closely resembles model #1425) 30 keys
4" by 8" by 3" height in rear
12 round keys, 18 square keys
visual display
Voice response for all keys of the keyboard Yes Yes Yes
Option for partly voiced Yes
(announces operations and answers only)
Yes
(announces operations and answers only)
Yes
(announces operations and answers only)
Help or learn function which allows the user to hear a key’s function without disturbing a calculation in progress Yes
(help function turns off after announcing one key’s function)
Yes
(help function turns off after announcing one key’s function)
Yes
(help function turns off after announcing one key’s function)
Voice Languages English English English
On/Off Must turn on by pressing ON.
Turns off three minutes after the last key press or may be turned off by pressing Shift 1, ON
Must turn on by pressing ON.
Turns off three minutes after the last key press or may be turned off by pressing Shift 1, ON
Must turn on by pressing ON.
Turns off three minutes after the last key press or may be turned off by pressing Shift 1, ON
Ability to hear the current active number at any time. Yes Yes Yes
Volume Control 9 levels 9 levels 9 levels
Distinctly marked keys for easy identification 5, decimal, and X 5, decimal, and X 5, decimal, and X
Most/all keys have _____ functions Three
(The shift keys, four basic math functions, zero, decimal, and equals have only one function each.)
Information not available Three
(The shift keys, four basic math functions, and zero have only one function each.)
Memory Positions Ten Ten Ten
Accessories
  • Ni-Cad batteries
  • 9V AC to DC adapter
  • earphone
  • braille keyboard chart print keyboard chart
  • instruction cassette
  • 1-yr warranty
  • Ni-Cad batteries
  • 9V AC to DC adapter
  • earphone
  • braille keyboard chart print keyboard chart
  • instruction cassette
  • 1-yr warranty
  • Ni-Cad batteries
  • 9V AC to DC adapter
  • earphone
  • braille keyboard chart print keyboard chart
  • instruction cassette
  • 1-yr warranty
Basic Keys:
decimal, =, 0-9
Yes Yes Yes
Basic Function Keys:
+, -, times, divide
Yes Yes Yes
Parentheses ( ) Yes Yes Yes
Backspace Key No No No
Clear last entry Key Yes Yes Yes
+/Key Yes Yes Yes
Scientific Notation Yes Yes Yes
Engineering Notation No No No
Fix Display Decimal Key Yes Yes Yes
Square Root Key Yes Yes Yes
Cube Root Key No No No
x2 Key Yes Yes Yes
1/x Key Yes Yes Yes
% Key Yes Yes Yes
Degrees Key Yes Yes Yes
Radians Key Yes Yes Yes
Grads Key No No No
Sin Key Yes Yes Yes
Cos Key Yes Yes Yes
Tan Key Yes Yes Yes
Sin-1 (arc sin) Key Yes Yes Yes
Cos-1 (arc cos) Key Yes Yes Yes
Tan-1 (arc tan) Key Yes Yes Yes
Pi Key Yes Yes Yes
e Key No No No
Ln Key Yes Yes Yes
Log Key Yes Yes Yes
ex Key Yes Yes Yes
10x Key Yes Yes Yes
xy Key Yes Yes Yes
Universal Root Key No No No
n! Key Yes Yes Yes
Hyperbolic Sin Key No No No
Hyperbolic Cos Key No No No
Hyperbolic Tan Key No No No
Fraction entry, operation, and conversion to decimal keys No No No
Fahrenheit/Celsius conversion keys Yes Yes Yes
Degree, minute, second/decimal degree conversion keys No No No
Polar/Rectangular conversion keys No No No
Special Functions for Mortgage, Real Estate and Business No No Yes
(Amortization, interest, dates, monthly payment, x/y change, future value, mortgage computations)
Special Functions for Statistics No Yes
(Summation, mean, x/y change, standard deviation, probability, combination, permutation, y intercept, slope)
No
Calculations and conversions in hexadecimal, octal, and binary number bases No No No
Boolean logic operations, computer math keys No No No
Time, Alarm, and Chronometer Functions No No No
Print on/off Key No No No
Manufacturer CAPTEK
Custom Applied Technology
104 Lincoln Highway
Berwyn, PA 19312
Phone: 610-296-2348
FAX: 610-296-0488
Technical Hot Line:
1-800-888-7401
CAPTEK
Custom Applied Technology
104 Lincoln Highway
Berwyn, PA 19312
Phone: 610-296-2348
FAX: 610-296-0488
Technical Hot Line:
1-800-888-7401
CAPTEK
Custom Applied Technology
104 Lincoln Highway
Berwyn, PA 19312
Phone: 610-296-2348
FAX: 610-296-0488
Technical Hot Line:
1-800-888-7401
Possible Vendors: Maxi Aids & Appliances for Independent Living
42 Executive Blvd.
P.O. Box 3209
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Phone: 800-522-6294
FAX: 516-752-0689
E-mail:
Website: http://www.maxiaids.com
$489.95
Maxi Aids & Appliances for Independent Living
42 Executive Blvd.
P.O. Box 3209
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Phone: 800-522-6294
FAX: 516-752-0689
E-mail:
Website: http://www.maxiaids.com
$539.95
Maxi Aids & Appliances for Independent Living
42 Executive Blvd.
P.O. Box 3209
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Phone: 800-522-6294
FAX: 516-752-0689
E-mail:
Website: http://www.maxiaids.com
$539.95
  Science Products
Box 888
Southeastern, PA 19399
Phone: 800-888-7400
$495.00
Science Products
Box 888
Southeastern, PA 19399
Phone: 800-888-7400
$545.00
Science Products
Box 888
Southeastern, PA 19399
Phone: 800-888-7400
$545.00
  LS&S Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 673
Northbrook, IL 60065
Phone: 800-468-4789
FAX: 847-498-1482
E-mail:
Website: http://www.lssgroup.com/
$495.00
LS&S Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 673
Northbrook, IL 60065
Phone: 800-468-4789
FAX: 847-498-1482
E-mail:
Website: http://www.lssgroup.com/
$545.00
LS&S Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 673
Northbrook, IL 60065
Phone: 800-468-4789
FAX: 847-498-1482
E-mail:
Website: http://www.lssgroup.com/
$545.00
  Carolyn's Catalog
P.O. Box 14577
Bradenton, FL 34280-4577
Phone: 800-648-2266
Fax: 941-739-5503
E-mail:
Website: http://www.carolynscatalog.com/
$495.00
Carolyn's Catalog
P.O. Box 14577
Bradenton, FL 34280-4577
Phone: 800-648-2266
Fax: 941-739-5503
E-mail:
Website: http://www.carolynscatalog.com/
$595.00
Carolyn's Catalog
P.O. Box 14577
Bradenton, FL 34280-4577
Phone: 800-648-2266
Fax: 941-739-5503
E-mail:
Website: http://www.carolynscatalog.com/
$595.00

 

FEATURES OF THE TALKING SCIENTIFIC CALCULATORS (page 2)
  AUDIOCALC Scientific Calculator EC9056 RNIB Talking Scientific Calculator DE24 (USA DE26) ORION TI-34 Talking Scientific Calculator
Physical Description 28 keys
4" by 6" by 1.5" height
keyboard with a completely sealed raised membrane with mechanical depression
visual display
40 keys
7.5" by 5.5" by 1.75" height
sloping desktop case with a purpose-designed raised tactile keypad membrane
no visual display
RS232 output port
42 keys
2.9" by 5.8" by 1.5" height
keyboard with large, tactile, functionally zoned keys
visual display and functionality are the same as regular TI-34
Voice response for all keys of the keyboard Yes Yes Yes
Option for partly voiced No Yes
(Quiet/Verbose mode; results are spoken after pressing equals/also speaks the intermittent results)
Yes
(Quiet/Verbose/Answer mode, final results and some intermittent results are spoken after pressing equals/also speaks the contents of the screen/results are spoken as soon as an active key is pressed)
(Additional feature speech modes include: Simple/Descriptive; Special Symbols Spoken/Not Spoken; Buffered/Flush.)
Help or learn function which allows the user to hear a key’s function without disturbing a calculation in progress Yes
(key toggles between normal and learn mode)
Yes
(key toggles between normal and learn mode)
Yes
(button toggles between normal and learn mode)
Voice Languages English, French, Spanish English English
On/Off There is no on/off switch.
Automatic start and stop
As soon as a key is pressed, the calculator is operational and it stops automatically at the end of the voice process.
On/off switch located at back of unit.
After 3 to 4 minutes without a keystroke, the device will beep once. 20 seconds later a double beep will occur. 10 seconds further and the device will beep 3 times and the calculator switches off 5 seconds later.
To switch ON, press the AC/ON key
To turn OFF, press the REPEAT/OFF button (located on the right-hand side) for more than 2 seconds.
After a pre-selected (by you) time period without a keystroke, the device will beep 30 seconds before shutdown, and again 15 seconds later.
Ability to hear the current active number at any time. Yes Yes
(also includes ability to hear the last intermittent result and all calculated decimal places irrespective of the current decimal place fix value)
Yes
(also includes ability to hear special indicators that may be displayed on the display: M, E, 2nd, HYP, BIN, OCT, HEX, STAT, DEG, RAD, GRAD, ( ))
Volume Control 10 levels Knob located at back of unit Thumb-wheel on left side of unit.
Distinctly marked keys for easy identification =, 5, and Help 5 A set of dots is provided with the calculator so that users can affix them wherever they find most useful.
Most/all keys have _____ functions Two Two
(However, some have one; others have three.)
Two
(However, some have one, others have three.)
Memory Positions Ten One
(Uses memory plus, minus, clear, replace, recall, and swap functions and fully implements order of operations: Parentheses, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction)
One
(Uses memory store, recall, exchange, and sum functions and fully implements order of operations: Parentheses, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction)
Accessories NiCad 8.4 volt battery
9V AC to DC adapter
earphone
case
print manual
instruction cassette
1-yr warranty
4 AA NiCd batteries
charger
headphones
RS232 serial cable and 9-pin to 25-pin adapter
case with shoulder strap
print instructions
instruction cassette
3.5" help disk for general calculator, and connection to a computer or printer instructions
braille available on request
1-yr warranty
Built-in re-chargeable battery which must be replaced by Orbit Research (battery should last at least through 500 charge and discharge cycles)
9V AC to DC adapter (battery charger)
earphone
sliding, impact resistant plastic cover
print manual
instruction cassette
1-yr warranty
Basic Keys:
decimal, =, 0-9
Yes Yes Yes
Basic Function Keys:
+, -, times, divide
Yes Yes Yes
Parentheses ( ) Yes Yes Yes
Backspace Key Yes
This function allows the user to backspace during construction, and erase any digit in a constituted number, starting with the last digit entered.
No Yes
This function allows the user to backspace during construction, and erase any digit in a constituted number, starting with the last digit entered.
Clear last entry Key Yes Yes Yes
+/Key Yes Yes Yes
Scientific Notation Yes Yes Yes
Engineering Notation No No Yes
Fix Display Decimal Key Yes Yes Yes
Square Root Key Yes Yes Yes
Cube Root Key No No Yes
x2 Key Yes Yes Yes
1/x Key Yes Yes Yes
% Key Yes No Yes
Degrees Key Yes Yes Yes
Radians Key Yes Yes Yes
Grads Key No No Yes
Sin Key Yes Yes Yes
Cos Key Yes Yes Yes
Tan Key Yes Yes Yes
Sin-1 (arc sin) Key Yes Yes Yes
Cos-1 (arc cos) Key Yes Yes Yes
Tan-1 (arc tan) Key Yes Yes Yes
Pi Key Yes Yes Yes
e Key No Yes No
Ln Key Yes Yes Yes
Log Key Yes Yes Yes
ex Key Yes Yes Yes
10x Key Yes Yes Yes
xy Key Yes Yes Yes
Universal Root Key No No Yes
n! Key No Yes Yes
Hyperbolic Sin Key No Yes Yes
Hyperbolic Cos Key No Yes Yes
Hyperbolic Tan Key No Yes Yes
Fraction entry, operation and conversion to decimal keys No No Yes
Fahrenheit/Celsius conversion keys No No No
Degree, minute, second/decimal degree conversion keys No No Yes
Polar/Rectangular conversion keys No No Yes
Special Functions for Mortgage, Real Estate and Business No No No
Special Functions for Statistics No Yes
(Summation, mean, standard deviation, combination, permutation, variation, statistics plus, minus, and clear keys)
Yes
(Data entry and removal, mean, population standard deviation, sample standard deviation, sum of data values, sum of squares, number of data values, and clear keys)
Calculations and conversions in hexadecimal, octal, and binary number bases No No Yes
(including NEG key and A-F keys for hexadecimal digits)
Boolean logic operations, computer math keys No No Yes
(NOT, AND, OR, XOR, XNOR keys)
Time, Alarm, and Chronometer Functions Yes
(Includes ability to program ten alarms, each of which can be momentary or repetitive and two modes of timekeeping)
No No
Print on/off Key No Yes
(This key turns the RS232 serial port on or off.)
No
Manufacturer Institut de Readaptation en Deficience Physique de Quebec
Site Louis-Hebert
525 Boulevard Hamel Est
Aile J
Quebec G1M 2S8
CANADA
Phone: 418-529-6991
FAX: 418-529-1710
RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind)
P.O. Box 173
Peterborough PE2 6WS
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0) 345 023153
Orbit Research
3422 Old Capitol Trail
Suite 585
Wilmington, DE 19808
Phone: 888-60-ORBIT
FAX: 888-606-7248
E-mail:
Website: http://www.orbitresearch.com
Possible Vendors: Maxi Aids & Appliances for Independent Living
42 Executive Blvd.
P.O. Box 3209
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Phone: 800-522-6294
FAX: 516-752-0689
E-mail:
Website: http://www.maxiaids.com

$539.95

Independent Living Aids, Inc.
27 East Mall
Plainview, NY 11803-4404
Phone: 800-57-2118
FAX: 516-752-3135
E-mail:
Website: http://www.independentliving.com

$425.00

Orbit Research
3422 Old Capitol Trail
Suite 585
Wilmington, DE 19808
Phone: 888-60-ORBIT
FAX: 888-606-7248
E-mail:
Website: http://www.orbitresearch.com

$199.00

  LS&S Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 673
Northbrook, IL 60065
Phone: 800-468-4789, FAX: 847-498-1482
E-mail:
Website: http://www.lssgroup.com/

$539.95

   
  Carolyn's Catalog
P.O. Box 14577
Bradenton, FL 34280-4577
Phone: 800-648-2266, Fax: 941-739-5503
E-mail:
Website: http://www.carolynscatalog.com/

$575.00

   
  Blazie Engineering
1095 E. Jarrettsville Rd.
Forest Hill, MD 21050
Phone: 410-893-9333
FAX: 410-836-5040
e-mail:
Website: http://www.blazie.co.uk/

$659.00