It’s time to make yourself familiar with your Annie. This section will tell you about the different parts of an Annie® device.
You can also learn this in detail on your Annie® by accessing the "Pre-Braille" chapter on your Annie.
Orientation and Convention
Place your Annie® on a flat surface with the Braille cells away from you and the three navigational, rubber keys towards you. Doing so will ensure that the 8 typing keys are at the centre of the device and pan left to right.
This will be the standard position for you to use your Annie® device.
From now onwards, when we refer to the top of the device, we mean the parts of the device farther away from you. The bottom of the device would refer to the parts of the device closer to you.
The top face would refer to the side of the device that has the Braille cells and the keys.
The left face therefore would refer to the side of the device that’s to your left. And the right face would refer to the side of the device that’s to your right.
On the left face of your Annie, at the very top, you will find the power socket to which you can connect the power cable.
Once the power cable is connected, right below the socket you will find a switch. This switch is for you to turn on or turn off the device.
To turn on the device, press the power switch towards you. And to turn off the device, press the power switch away from you.
There’s a small light between the power switch and the power socket. If this light is on, it means the device is switched on.
Once you switch on the device, wait for about 30 seconds for the device to start.
How will you know that the device has started? The Braille cells start popping up and down, and Annie® will play you a song!
Just below the power switch, Annie® has a groove that activates on your touch. We call this the repeat button. It is place right below the power switch and isn’t a physical button.
When you tap the repeat button once, the device vibrates. So instead of checking the LED light, you can tap the repeat button once to check if the device is powered on.
If you tap the repeat button twice in quick succession, Annie® repeats the previous statement or instruction again. Now you know why it’s called the repeat button.
Braille Displays and Speaker
Now back to the top face of the device. On the top left side of the top face is your Large Braille Display. The large Braille display has two cells.
To its immediate right are the speakers. This is where Annie® will talk to you from.
To the right of the speaker, on the top right side of the top face is your standard Braille display. The standard Braille display has six cells.
When you move your hands below the Braille displays, at the centre of the device, you will find the Braille keyboard. The Braille keyboard consists of 8 keys in total.
There are six big rectangular keys. These are keys are keys 1 through 6, ordered as [3,2,1], [4,5,6] from left to right.
Tight below these keys are two small circular keys. One small circular key under the key 3 and another small circular key under key 6. The small key under key 3 is the linespace or return (enter) (⏎) key. The small key under key 6 is the backspace key (⌫).
When Annie® asks you to type something, you use these keys.
At the very bottom of the top face, closest to you, are the three navigation keys. These keys are rubbery as against the smooth finish of the typing keys.
The long navigational key in the centre is the spacebar key. The one to its right pointing towards the right direction is the right key, and the one to the left of the spacebar key is the left key.
You can use these keys to scroll through the menu, select lessons, move forward in a lesson, skip past certain parts etc.
Digital Braille Slate
Just below the typing keys panel, you’ll find six cells with six dots. This is the world’s first digital braille slate. You can use this to write Braille as you would normally do on a piece of paper.
When you attempt a writing exercise on Annie, Annie will prompt you to write on the braille slate. Use only the stylus provided with Annie while operating the slate.
Do not poke the slate too hard, or use any other sharp object as it may cause irreparable damage.
Volume Control and Earphones
On the right face of the device, you will find the volume control scroll and the earphone jack.
You can turn the volume control towards you or away from you. If you want to increase the volume, turn it towards you. If you want to decrease the volume, turn it away from you.
The 3.5mm earphone jack is present right above the volume control. You can listen to Annie® on your earphones/headphones by plugging them in here.
We recommend using headphones for the best experience.
Setting up before First Use
Now you know everything about your Annie. But before you start using your Annie, there are a few important steps you need to take.
Setup your Helios Account & Connect your Annie
Annie® is a connected device. To get the most out of your Annie, you can access reports, track performance, curate content and much more.
All of this can be done via the Helios suite. The Helios suite is the web companion to your Annie® device and makes the learning experience far greater. When you purchase an Annie, you get access to the Helios suite with it.
Annie® does work without the internet. However, to get the most out of Annie, it’s recommended you setup your Helios account.
On the login page, you can either sign in with your Google account, or with your email address. If you choose to sign in with your email address, you’ll be asked to verify your email address by clicking a sign-in link in your inbox.
Once you get to the Helios homepage for the first time, you’ll be prompted to add your Annie® device. Here you’ll have to enter an "activation code".
At the bottom face of your Annie, there should be a sticker which has two codes – "Annie® ID" and the "activation code".
In the popup on Helios, enter this "Activation code" that is on the bottom face of your Annie. Once you’ve entered the Activation code, click the "Activate" button.
Now your Annie® has successfully been connected to the Helios Suite!
Create a User Account & Set it as default
When you start an Annie® device you can login to a user account by entering the user-key and pass-key, or you can select a default user account for an Annie® (More about this later.)
Logging in to a particular account will let Helios track and capture data for that particular user, thus letting you track performance and usage of the user.
Here’s how to create a new user account:
Sign in to your Helios account and go to your homepage. If you’re following this guide step-by-step, you should already be at your homepage by now. (If you’re not, please log in to https://companion.thinkerbelllabs.com)
Once you’re in the homepage, you’ll see a button that says 'Add a User', click on it to get to a form to add user. (Alternatively you can navigate to your account page on Helios from the homepage, and click on Add User there)
Helios will now ask you a few fields about the user. Fill these in with the details of the Braille learner.
You will also be able to select a 'Default Annie' for the user. Selecting this means that the user will automatically be logged in to the Annie® that you select. We recommend that you select this option for personal usage.
Once you finish entering the details, a new user will be created, and you’ll be navigated to the users page automatically.
Here’s where you will see all the user usage details and performance analytics.
Congratulations! You’ve now created a user account and are ready to switch on your Annie.
Setting Up your Annie® Network
There’s just one more thing you need to do before your Annie® is up and running. You need to connect Annie® to the internet.
If you’ve access to a ethernet connection, plug your cable in the ethernet cable on Annie’s left face.
If you don’t have an ethernet connection, Here’s how you can connect Annie® to your Wi-Fi network:
Plug the power cable in and switch on your Annie® for the first time.
Wait for a few seconds for Annie® to turn on.
Once the device is turned on, Annie® will say "Looks like you have not configured your network. Press space to configure."
Once you press space, the Annie® hotspot is enabled.
You need to connect to the Annie Hotspot via your phone or your computer. Select a Wi-Fi to connect to and you will see "AnnieHotspot" as an available network.
Connect to "AnnieHotspot" with the password "Thinkerbell" (without quotes, ’T’ in uppercase).
Once you’ve connected to "AnnieHotspot", Open a browser, and type the URL: http://10.0.0.2
You will then be able to see instructions on your screen to add your network configuration. Here is where you will enter the details of the Wi-Fi* that you want Annie® to connect to. The SSID is the name of your WiFi and the passphrase is the password you use to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
For example, if your WiFi name is "Thinkerbell" and the password is "PerfectlyBalanced", then you enter "Thinkerbell" under SSID and "PerfectlyBalanced" under Passphrase.
Once you do this click ‘Save’. This network is stored in your Annie® and Annie® should be able to connect to it automatically.
Now, press Reboot. Please do not switch off the device during this entire process!
Note: If you've skipped this step, you can reconfigure internet on Annie by navigating to Settings in the main menu and selecting network settings and then Configure Wi-Fi
Once the device reboots, it should welcome you. Now you have successfully setup your Annie.
Go ahead and use it!
Logging on to Annie
If while adding a user account, you selected the Annie® as the default Annie, you do not need to login every time you start and the device logs you in automatically.
In case you have not selected the Annie® as a default Annie® for a particular user, you will be asked to login every time you switch on the device. You can log in using your user-key and pass-key.
Using User-Key and Pass-Key
If you want to login, follow the on-Annie® instructions to proceed, and enter your "user-key" when prompted on the Annie® keyboard.
For example, if your user-key is "1234", type on the keyboard: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4, not pressing keys 1, 2, 3, and 4 together.
Once the user-key is accepted, Annie® will speak out the user’s name (if recorded/uploaded to Helios) and prompt you to enter the "pass-key".
Enter the pass-key like the user-key, one by one.
On entering the pass-key correctly, you will be logged-in, and your progress on the content will be restored.
More about The Helios Suite
There is much more you can do on the Helios Suite. Some of the stuff you can do include:
Viewing performance and usage reports for each user
Viewing lesson roadmap
Managing Annie® devices
Giving restricted access to other stakeholders involved in the learning process
The Helios Suite is continuously updated. For more instructions/tutorials on the different aspects of the Helios Suite, go to the ‘Help & Support’ section on your Helios homepage.
Here are some additional tips that will help you make the most out of your Annie® experience.
Press Spacebar + Left + Right keys together wherever you are to get back to the main menu of your content. This works even if you’re between a lesson. Of course, use this wisely and only when in need because you might lose important data otherwise.
Press Left + Right keys together to move back one step in your lessons. Try it out.
We’ve talked about the Repeat button before, but it just happens to be one of the most useful features. Tap it twice any time you feel lost or unsure about what the previous instruction was.
Associate a default Annie® to a user. Not needing to log in every time is so much more convenient.
Use headphones in even a slightly noisy environment for the best experience.
Press the right key to skip past instructions that you’re already aware of. You don’t need to listen to the entire statement, you can just press right to go to the next statement.
When a word appears on the standard display but ends with all eight dots raised on the 6th cell, then it means that the word is incomplete. Press and hold the right key for the remainder of the word to be shown. For example, the word ‘Absolute’ will be displayed as ‘A-B-S-O-L’ and eight dots in the sixth cell. Press and hold right to display ‘U-T-E’ as well.
Do not place your fingers on the standard Braille display while it’s refreshing. If you place your fingers on the cells while a new letter/word is being displayed, then it might be displayed incorrectly.
To get the best performance out of your Annie, please follow the following guidelines.
How to/Not to Use Annie
Press Annie® keys softly.
Do not place sharp metal objects near Annie, as the magnet may attract the objects.
Do not handle Annie® plug with wet hands, as it might cause an electric shock.
Make sure to use the adapter provided with Annie. Use of any other non standard adapter will void your warranty, and possibly damage Annie.
Do not disassemble or alter any part of Annie.
Use the stylus (Only applicable to devices with writing module) provided with Annie® on the writing module.
Do not put pressure on the braille cells when it is refreshing, as it may limit proper movement of the dots and result in wrong outputs.
Do not spill liquids on Annie.
Do not drop Annie.
Do not microwave Annie.
Do not use Annie® below 0℃ or above 50℃.
Do not place Annie® or adapter near a radiator or heat source. Exposure to high heat may to weaken magnetic properties and possibly cause a fire.
Do not place Annie® near liquids to prevent spillage.
Do not put Annie® under heavy weight or unusual stress.
When not in use, keep Annie® dust-free, as dust might damage internal components.