Focus Blue 5th Generation Firmware Downloads

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 Focus Blue Braille Display Training web page.

This update includes the following changes:

  • Support for opening Spanish Braille (BRA) files in the Scratchpad when the Focus language is set to Spanish.
  • General performance improvements when using the Scratchpad. These include:
    • The low battery warning is now displayed
    • Improved messages indicating when a file is not editable
  • If the display is left unattended for an extended period of time, you no longer have to disconnect and reconnect the USB cable to resume braille output.
  • This update also resolves an issue where upgrading from a previous firmware release would fail and cause the unit to be unresponsive.

IMPORTANT: This update is for the Focus Blue 5th generation braille displays. DO NOT install this firmware on older Focus 14 Blue, Focus 40 Blue, or Focus 80 Blue 4th Generation 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 (press twice if connected over USB and JAWS is running) and then the top of the left or right Rocker bar to verify the model and current firmware version. When finished, press the right 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 at the end of this procedure, 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. Verify that the update was successful by pressing 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.

        Focus Blue 5th Generation Firmware 5.81-61 Update

Scratchpad Overview

Scratchpad is a Focus Blue utility. If a Micro SD card (up to 32 GB) is inserted into the display, the Scratchpad enables you to enter notes using plain text 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) and plain text (TXT) files. 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 or TXT files can be transferred directly to the Micro SD card for reading in the Scratchpad.

See the Scratchpad documentation for more information on using all of its features.

For international users, this firmware supports the following languages for the menus and status messages.
Arabic German Portuguese
Czech Hebrew Russian
Danish Hungarian Slovakian
Dutch Italian Spanish
Finnish Norwegian Swedish
French Polish Turkish
English is selected by default. To switch to a different language, use the Language option located in the display's configuration menu.

Preparing the Micro SD Card

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.

Downloading and Transferring Scratchpad Files

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 at the end of this procedure, download and save the Focus5-SDCard file to a location on your computer where you can easily find it, for example, your Downloads folder. 
  2. Locate the file and extract its contents. A folder called FSI is created in the same folder where you extracted the file. 
  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.
  4. On your computer, navigate to the fsi folder and press CTRL+C to copy the entire folder and its contents.
  5. 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.
  6. Once the folder is transferred, press the APPLICATIONS key on your computer while focused on the USB drive, and choose Eject.
  7. 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).

        Focus Scratchpad Help Files Version 1.3 Update                        
        This update resolves several localization issues.