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About the Mantis Q40

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Mantis is a first of its kind braille device providing an all in one solution for users who want to keep braille at their fingertips while utilizing a Bluetooth QWERTY keyboard.  A user no longer needs to carry both a Bluetooth keyboard and braille device, along with their computer / mobile tool,  or choose between choosing braille or not if they are using a QWERTY keyboard.  The Mantis is small enough to fit easily in one’s laptop or tablet bag and has the internal intelligence to be a powerful tool in a classroom or job environment.

  • Yes, it comes with a protective shell case which protects the sides and back of the device. A professional carrying case from Executive products can be purchased as an additional accessory.

  • Mantis Q40 will be compatible with:

    • Windows 8 and above using Jaws 18+, NVDA and Narrator
    • MAC OS 10.15+ Catalina
    • iOS 13.4+
    • Android and Chrome OS: Pending approval from Google and BRLTTY.
  • The dimensions are 29cm x 17cm x 2 cm or 290mm x 170mm x 20mm

    Weight = 786 grams or 1.7LB

  • The Mantis Q40 supports several file formats.

    The editor application supports:

    DOC, DOCX, TXT, BRF and BRL

    The Library application supports:

    BRF, PEF, TXT, HTML, DOCX, NISO and RTF

  • Yes, the maximum file handling size is 100MB. If a file exceeds this size you will receive a “file too large to open” notification.

  • The file size limits for the editor will vary depending on file type. These are the limits for each file type:

    • Microsoft Word 97-2003 documents .doc (2000 KB)
    • Microsoft Word 2007 documents .docx (2000 KB)
    • .txt (2000 KB)

    Since BRF and BRL files are translated when opened in the Editor, the file size is based on number of characters and is much smaller than print files.

    • .brf (221000 Characters)
    • .brl (221000 Characters)
  • Yes, to avoid BRF files from being translated open the BRF file using the Library application. This can be very useful if you want to read a BRF file as it is without any further translation. Example of this could include braille music or simply a BRF file that contains a mix of braille tables (Contracted and uncontracted)

  • Mantis’s battery will provide you at minimum 15 hours of usage and is user replaceable with the removal of two screws on the back of the device.

  • Via a USB C connection on the left side of Mantis

  • Yes, the F12 key acts as a toggle between QWERTY and perkins style braille input. When using braille input, the FDS keys serve as dots 123, and the JKL keys serve as dots 456.

  • Yes, the Mantis Q40 offers a USB host port for thumb drives and an SDHC slot for SD cards. In addition the Mantis itself contains 16 GB of internal storage

  • Yes, it is recommended that you eject external drives before physically removing them. The hotkey for eject is Ctrl + Alt + E. You will then be shown a list with all currently connected external drives. Press enter on the one you want to eject and then you will get a confirmation message and may physically remove the device.

  • Books can either be read from one of the available storage media, (USB thumb drive, SD card, or internal storage), or by connecting your Mantis Q40 to an available wireless network. Once connected to WIFI, you can download books from Bookshare or NFB Newsline.

  • Yes, Bookshare books can be downloaded and navigated using the DAISY elements.

  • While previous devices did combine a QWERTY keyboard with a braille display, they were designed to be traditional note takers first and keyboards second.  This often resulted in missing keys from the traditional QWERTY keyboard, or compromising on functionality when connected to mainstream devices.  Mantis contains a traditional laptop style keyboard found on other mainstream Bluetooth keyboards.  The Mantis Q40 is the first of its kind to be designed as a fully functioning QWERTY keyboard with external devices, using the HID standard.  This allows the Mantis to function as an external keyboard for devices, even if a screen reader is not running.  In addition, the Mantis is the first device to use Apple’s new Braille HID protocol, allowing it to be used as a QWERTY Bluetooth keyboard with braille output.  And if VoiceOver is not running, the keyboard will continue to control the iOS or MacOS device.  Think of the Mantis as a Bluetooth keyboard first with some internal intelligence.

  • Yes. Providing a thumb drive or SD card with files in the .doc, .docx, .txt, .brf and .brl format can all be read using the Mantis’s internal applications.  Mantis has an internal braille translator and provides fantastic forward and backward braille translation.

  • Yes, thanks to Mantis’s multiple language profiles, you can set multiple language options depending on the language you are typing or reading. If you need to go to a Spanish class for example, you simply change your language profile to Spanish from within the Mantis settings, and the braille and translation will be changed to your preferred Spanish braille table.

  • Yes, if you have previously created multiple language profiles you can simply press CTRL+ALT+L to toggle through your created profiles. This is extremely useful if while in a document you wish to change your braille reading to a native foreign language such as French or Spanish.

  • Yes, when setting up your Braille profile you are asked to configure your preference for contracted braille and uncontracted braille. Please refer to “How to create a new Braille profile” if you need to create a new Braille profile. This is a great hidden gem that allows you as a user to control what is shown on the braille display. If you come across a contracted word that you are not familiar with, pressing CTRL+ALT+G will toggle from contracted braille to uncontracted thus expanding the word, allowing you to learn the contraction.

  • No, If keys have become dislodged or completely removed please contact APH technical support for assistance.

  • The thumb keys functions are, from far left to far right, up, left, right, and down. The two outer thumb keys move you up and down in a document or menu, while the left and right thumb keys pan the display left or right one display width.

  • From the device’s main menu, navigate to the settings menu and activate it with enter or a router key. Navigate to the About option and activate it.  From within this menu, you will see the version number.

    You can update the Mantis in two ways. The simplest is by connecting it to WIFI.  When connected, the Mantis Q40 will automatically recognize there is a new firmware available, and prompt you to download and install it. Alternatively you can put the .SWU file you download from the APH web site to a thumb drive or SD card, insert them into the Mantis, and within around 30 seconds the device will restart and you will see a progress indicator.  Do not remove the storage media or power off the Mantis Q40 during the update process.

    Please note, the Mantis will need a minimum of 10% battery to perform the upgrade. It is advised to plug in the power chord before updating.

  • The recommend maximum size of SD card is 64 GB.

  • This button acts as the device’s home button. When accessing local content on the Mantis, the home button will bring you to the device’s main menu.  When connected to an external device such as a computer or smartphone, pressing this button will bring you back to the local interface where you can change devices, or access the internal applications of Mantis.

  • Mantis can connect to up to 5 Bluetooth devices at once along with one USB connection. To switch from one device to the next, simply tap the center circle home button between the thumb keys, and select your desired device to toggle to.

  • A long press and hold of the power button on the left side of the Mantis will power it on. While powered on, performing a long press will force shut down the device. When powered on you will feel a long vibration, you can select the “Power Off” option from the main menu of the Mantis to shut it down completely. You will feel a double vibration when completely powered off.

    While on, a single quick tap of the power button will put the Mantis to sleep and wake it up.

  • APH has partnered with HumanWare for the international distribution of the Mantis Q40. We expect Mantis to be available internationally near the end of May 2020. Please contact HumanWare for more information about Mantis in your country and language.

  • Yes, in any menu, simply press the first letter of the item to jump quickly to it.

  • If you have multiple devices paired to your Mantis, while using one device, simply tap the home button in the middle of the thumb keys, select the Bluetooth connections item and choose your desired device to switch to.

  • Yes Pressing the home command of alt + ctrl + H, on the Mantis with your iOS device locked, will wake it up where you can enter your passcode. This allows you to keep your iOS device in its bag or pocket while you use the Mantis as its controller and output.

  • The APH Chameleon 20 and Mantis Q40 can be paired with iPhone and iPads running iOS 13.5.1 or later.

    Please follow these steps on your braille device:

    1. Navigate to the Terminal application from the main menu.
    2. Select “Add Bluetooth device”.
    3. You now see a prompt to activate your device in your host device’s Bluetooth settings.

    Now on your iOS device:

    1. Tap on the settings application from the Home screen.
    2. Tap on Bluetooth
    3. You should now see the APH braille display appearing at the bottom of the list.  Tap it.
    4. Your APH braille device is now paired and you can control your iOS device and receive braille output.
  • For simplicity, the best way to review documents stored on the device is to connect it to a PC or laptop. To connect the Chameleon 20 to a PC, insert the provided USB C cable into the Chameleon and the USB A to the PC/laptop.  On connecting the Chameleon to the PC/LAPTOP it will automatically create a media storage under “My computer”.

    This is currently only supported on windows devices.

  • When creating a new file in the editor it is creating a .TXT file.  This also is the case if you edit a file that was a .DOC, or .DOCX file.  When re-saved  on your device, it will be saved as a .TXT file.

  • There is a bug that Apple is working on with their iOS operating system where the Mantis or Chameleon will sometimes not repair with a previously connected apple product.  IN these cases, we have developed a work around to force a repair. Apple is aware of the issue and has a Mantis for their own validation.

    On the Mantis or Chameleon do the following:

    1. Open the terminal application from the device’s main menu.
    2. Select bluetooth connections
    3. Press your previous thumb key twice and you will see the last item in the list, “Reconnect Devices”.  Activate that and wait for approximately 10 minutes with your iOS device unlocked.  It should force the re-pairing and all works as expected.
  • APH offers a variety of refreshable braille displays. Read our refreshable braille comparison chart to learn more.