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Chameleon 20

Designed specifically for students who are blind and visually impaired, the Chameleon™ 20 enhances student productivity and classroom engagement with its portable braille display and notetaker – perfect for in and out of the classroom setting to improve braille literacy skills.



Federal Quota Eligible

27 in stock

Catalog Number: 1-08471-00

Product Description

The Chameleon’s 20-cell refreshable braille display and Perkins-style keyboard provide a comfortable reading and writing experience. Superior internal intelligence and multiple modes of connectivity allow students to use the Chameleon as a stand-alone notetaker, or as a braille display to edit assignments on the computer.

Contains the following built-in applications:

  • Basic editor to function as a user’s pen and paper.
  • Book reader to download and read books in braille.
  • Calculator to perform basic mathematical calculations.
  • Clock to check the date and time.

Compatible with:

  • Windows 8 and above using Jaws 18+, NVDA, and Narrator
  • MacOS 10.5+ Catalina
  • iOS 13.5.1+

Download the Braille Terminal Tools application to install the Chameleon 20 driver on versions of Jaws earlier than 2020. If you are running Jaws 2020, ensure it is running the latest update, as the Chameleon 20 driver is included in Jaws 2020. For versions earlier than 2020, simply download and run the Braille Terminal Tools.exe file, and follow the prompts, ensuring that Chameleon 20 is the selected braille display when asked. After installing the driver, you will need to restart Jaws.

Chameleon 20 1.2.0 Release Notes

Note: For international orders, please contact our partner, HumanWare.

View a comparison chart of APH refreshable braille displays.

Please join our Chameleon 20 and Mantis Q40 community of users by visiting our mailing list on FreeLists and following the sign-up instructions.

  • Weight: 0.9 lbs

    Dimensions: 3.66 × 7.16 × 0.9 in

    Federal Quota Funds: Available

    Product Type: Assistive

    • Perkins-style keyboard and 20-cell refreshable braille display
    • Customizable with three kinds of TPU bumper cases: teal, purple, and pomegranate
    • Functions as another device’s braille display when connected via USB or Bluetooth; functions as a stand-alone device when not connected
    • HumanWare signature thumb keys and home button
    • SD card slot and USB host port for flash
    • Supports .doc, .docx, .txt, .brf, and .brl files.
    • Small and lightweight
    • Fits in a purse, laptop bag, or backpack
    • Teal, purple, and pomegranate TPU bumper cases
    • Teal nylon carrying case with strap
    • An array of tactile and braille insect-themed stickers
    • USB-C charging cable with power supply (works with any USB charger, but may charge slower)
    • User Guide (stored on device)
  • Customer Service and Technical Support

    Toll-Free: 800-223-1839 (U.S. and Canada)
    Fax: 502-899-2284
    Hours: Monday–Friday 8:00am–8:00pm EST

  • What is unique about the Chameleon 20?

    Designed with students in mind, the Chameleon is one of the first devices to provide customization for its users, based on their style or mood.  Offering three different colors of cases, users can customize the look of their device daily. In addition, the Chameleon packs 20 cells of braille, standalone efficiency apps for the classroom or workplace, and instant connectivity into a small package, easy to slide into a backpack, purse or even a jacket pocket.

    Does the Chameleon 20 come with a carrying case?

    Yes the Chameleon includes 3 different colors of cases along with a protective folio case.  The user can choose among a teal, pomegranate, or purple case.  In addition The Chameleon will come with decorative stickers that students can customize their device with.

    What operating systems and screen readers will be supported by the Chameleon?

    Chameleon 20 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 updates from Google

    Does the Apple Watch support the Chameleon?

    No, because the Apple Watch does not support Bluetooth keyboards at this time.

    What are the dimensions and weight of the Chameleon 20?

    400g or 0.9 lb

    What files are supported on the Chameleon 20?

    The Chameleon 20 supports several file formats.

    The editor application supports:

    • DOC
    • DOCX
    • TXT
    • BRF
    • BRL

    The Library application supports:

    • BRF
    • PEF
    • TXT
    • HTML
    • DOCX
    • NISO
    • RTF

    Is there a maximum file size that can be opened on the Chameleon 20?

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

    What are the file size limits for the editor?

    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)

    Is there a way to open BRF files without the file being translated by the onboard braille translator?

    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)

    How long will the battery last?

    Chameleon’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.

    How is the battery charged?

    Via a USB C connection on the left side of Chameleon

    When typing in the editor, is it possible to switch between contracted and uncontracted braille?

    Yes, pressing backspace with G toggles between contracted and uncontracted braille.  Note: if using computer braille, press backspace plus space with G to initiate the toggle, as backspace functions as dot 7 when typing in computer braille.

    When saving books or note files, can I use external storage devices?

    Yes the Chameleon 20 offers a USB host port for thumb drives and an SDHC slot for SD cards.  In addition the Chameleon itself contains 16 GB of internal storage

    Do I need to eject thumb drives and SD cards before removing them?

    Yes, it is recommended that you eject external drives before physically removing them. The hotkey for eject is enter + e (dot 8 + dots 15). 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.

    You mentioned that the Chameleon can download books. How is this done?

    Books can either be read from one of the available storage media, (USB thumb drive, SD card, or internal storage), or by connecting your Chameleon 20 to an available wireless network. Once connected to WIFI, you can download books from Bookshare or NFB Newsline.

    Are DAISY books supported in the book reader?

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

    If someone gives me a file to read, can the Chameleon 20 read standard document formats, such as Microsoft Word files?

    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 Chameleon’s internal applications.  Chameleon has an internal braille translator and provides fantastic forward and backward braille translation.

    Am I able to type and read in other languages, and ensure the braille and print is correct?

    Yes thanks to Chameleon’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 Chameleon settings, and the braille and translation will be changed to your preferred Spanish braille table.

    What language codes does the Chameleon 20 offer beyond UEB?

    The Chameleon 20 currently only supports English, but Spanish will be added with the update that is currently in testing.

    As far as braille codes, the Chameleon has LibLouis and Duxbury tables for UEB contracted and uncontracted. It also has support for the old EBAE code, British braille codes, Spanish braille code support, South African tables (pre-UEB), Esperanto, and Ethiopian pre-UEB.

    The Chameleon 20 has every English braille code that a user could want as well as Esperanto. The Spanish code was recently added and Spanish language is coming soon.

    If I have multiple language profiles available, is it possible to quickly toggle between them?

    Yes, If you have previously created multiple language profiles you can simply press Enter with dots 1,2,3 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.

    Are the keyboard keys replaceable?

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

    What do the tactile lines on the thumb keys mean?

    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.

    How can I check my firmware and update if needed?

    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 Chameleon in two ways.  The simplest is by connecting it to WIFI.  When connected, the Chameleon 20 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 Chameleon, 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 Chameleon 20 during the update process.

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

    What size SD card can I use with my Chameleon 20?

    The recommended maximum size of SD card is 64 GB.

    What is the circle button in the center of the thumb keys?

    This button acts as the device’s home button.  When accessing local content on the Chameleon, 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 Chameleon.

    How many devices can I connect to the Chameleon 20 at once?

    Chameleon 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 in the Bluetooth pairing option.

    How do I turn the Chameleon 20 on and off?

    A long press and hold of the power button on the left side of the Chameleon 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 Chameleon 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 Chameleon to sleep and wake it up.

    I live outside the United States, can I still purchase the Chameleon 20?

    APH hopes to partner with international distribution to sell the Chameleon 20 outside of the United States.  More information will become available when these partnerships are established.

    In the menus, if I know what I am trying to get to quickly, is there a faster way to navigate the menus?

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

    How do I check the Chameleon’s battery level quickly?

    Pressing enter with P will display the battery level.

    How do I switch between multiple devices?

    If you have multiple devices paired to your Chameleon, 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.

    Can I wake up my iOS device from my Chameleon?

    Pressing any cursor router key on the Chameleon 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 Chameleon as its controller and output.

    How do I remove a Bluetooth Pairing?

    1. From the main menu, press the letter S for settings followed by pressing Enter
    2. Press the Letter B for Bluetooth followed by pressing Enter
    3. Press the letter D for Delete pairing followed by pressing Enter
    4. Navigate to the pairing you wish to delete followed by pressing Enter
    5. Your paired device will now be deleted and will not show in your list of Bluetooth connections.

    Is there a read only mode?

    Yes, When reading files in the library application, you will be in read-only mode. If however, you are reading files in the editor application pressing space with X will toggle between Read and Edit mode.

    I struggle to remember all of the shortcuts, is there a context menu that can help me?

    Yes, the Chameleon 20 has access to a context menu. The context menu can be accessed at any time by pressing Space with M and can help you with the available shortcuts that can be used at your given time. This can be very helpful if you are new to the Chameleon or self-learning to become more efficient.

    Where do my books from Bookshare download to?

    When you have successfully downloaded a book from Bookshare they will be saved on the internal storage in the Bookshare folder which is a subfolder located in “online-books”. Books downloaded from online service can only be opened from the library application.

    Will the Calculator allow me to type in Nemeth or UEB?

    On the first version, Chameleon will only support basic Mathematics with computer braille entry only. In the near future we hope to enable both Nemeth and UEB input.

    I notice there are volume keys and an audio jack on the right side. How do I enable audio?

    The Chameleon 20 is hardware ready for audio, but is not available on first launch. Audio capabilities will be available in upcoming software versions.

    When trying to perform shortcuts they fail to work?

    If you are trying to perform shortcuts and they fail to work it is more than likely that you have accidentally switch to computer braille. In this case please press backspace, Space and G to revert back to either contracted or uncontracted braille.

    Can I use a QWERTY keyboard with the Chameleon 20?

    No, unfortunately this is not possible at the current time.

    Does the Chameleon 20 support one handed mode?

    On first release No, one handed mode is not currently supported.

    Is there anyway of connecting a screen or monitor to the Chameleon 20?

    No, this is not currently possible.

    As a TVI I need to review some of the documents that have been created on the Chameleon 20 storage, what would be the easiest option with limited braille experience?

    For simplicity, the best way to review documents stored on the Chameleon 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”.

    If however you are using a MAC you require a third party application which can be found on APH’s support website.

    I am trying to connect my Chameleon or Mantis to my iPhone, how do I do this?

    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.

    If I create a new document in the editor, what file format is it using?

    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.

    I previously paired my braille device with my iPhone or iPad, but now when I select one of those devices from the Bluetooth Connections list, it simply says “Failed to connect”. What can I do?

    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.

    How do I know which refreshable braille display is best for me or my student?

    APH offers a variety of refreshable braille displays. Read our refreshable braille comparison chart to learn more.

    Can I use the Chameleon as an external drive with a Mac?

    Yes, to use the Chameleon as an external drive with a Mac, download the “Files for Mac External Drive” zipped folder. Inside find the PKG File and DMG file. Install both, accept all permissions, and then reboot your Mac. Now it will recognize the braille display as an external drive.

  • Contact Customer Service to discuss your warranty options.