Controlling Claro VR Apps

We’ve recently developed and released some VR apps for iOS and Android which have been received well.  However, one question that keeps popping up is: How can I control the app?
There is a lack of accessible, adequate control for VR apps.  Generally, there are two forms of user control when using VR apps:
  1. Headset controls.
  2. External controller pads.

Headsets

There are not many headsets that have built in controls.  The main one is the Samsung Gear VR headset that has a directional touch pad as well as back and home buttons:
Samsung Gear VR controls
This works well with our Android apps but this particular headset is only compatible with a limited set of Samsung mobile devices: Galaxy S8 / S8+ / S7 / S7 edge / Note5 / S6 edge+ / S6 /S6 edge (as of December 2017)

 

A cheaper and more accessible alternative to the Gear VR headset is the Google Cardboard headset (or similar).  These are made of cardboard and are around £15 to buy on the Google Store:

 

Cardboard supports most Android or iOS phones with screen sizes from 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm).  Control is rather limited on these however and is restricted to a single tap on the phones screen:
Google Cardboard
 You can use this single tap feature to perform the main functions in our VR apps.  In MagVR, for example, a single tap will zoom in, until maximum zoom and then the next single tap will zoom out.

 

An example of an alternative cardboard headset would be something like this:

 

 

 

A caveat with using these type of headsets, is that you have to poke/cut a hole in the face, so the device’s camera can see out.  That is why cardboard is suitable! Other suitable headsets include ones with removable or retractable front faces, so the camera can see out.

 

Controllers

Controllers or gamepads are more generic and there are lots to choose from.  These include the more traditional types that you might normally associate with games consoles, that have the X/Y/B/A buttons.

 

XYBA controls
If these state that they are iOS and/or Android compatible then you can use them to control our apps.
An example of one that we tried and tested on iOS, is the Mad Catz Controller:

 

 

 

 

For this particular model, there is also an Android version available.

 

On Android, we used the SteelSeries Nimbus/Stratus controller

 

 

 

These controllers work well but you have to hold and control them with both hands.  If you would prefer something smaller, our VR apps also support “mini” controllers.  These are quite cheap and small, so you can hold the controller and use it with one hand.

 

Mini controller
These mini controllers often have two modes: “game” and “key” or something similar.  To control our apps, they should be toggled to game mode.

 

 

 

iOS Apple Watch

Our iOS apps can also be controlled using an Apple Watch.  When you install one of our VR apps on iOS, you’ll also get the corresponding Watch App installed on your Apple Watch.  You can open this app and control the phone app.

Claro ScanPen Premium iOS Released

Introducing Claro ScanPen Premium – a free-to-download iOS app which allows you to have 10 free scans. You can optionally sign up for the annual subscription to get a free 14 day trial. If you don’t cancel during the free trial, you will get charged the £9.99 annual subscription (correct as of October 2017). With an active subscription you have unlimited scans and unlimited access to all of our high-quality voices (currently Nuance Expressive, Acapela and children’s voices).

Claro ScanPen Premium joins our Claro ScanPen family alongside the standard Claro ScanPen version which is still available to purchase outright for £6.99 (correct as of October 2017).

Below is a comparison chart highlighting the differences between the two versions (click to enlarge or visit the original chart):

When you first launch Claro ScanPen Premium, you will see the following launch screen, just select whether you’d like to have the 10 free scans or sign up for the 14 day free trial (with the option to cancel at any time).

More

ClaroPDF V2 Released

October 2017 saw the release of V2 of our ClaroPDF for iOS app, with some major changes. The most significant feature is the new tabbed structure when viewing multiple PDF documents.

Multiple Documents

In V1 of ClaroPDF, you were limited to viewing 1 document at a time.  In V2, ClaroPDF now allows you to open multiple PDF documents at the same time.  The documents are arranged in a tabbed view, across the top:

Tabbed document view in ClaroPDF V2,

Tabbed document view

This lets you switch quickly to other documents for reading and/or annotating without having to replace the current document you were viewing.  You can tap the X button on any document tab to close it.

Photo to PDF

The Photo to PDF feature has been significantly upgraded in V2.  You were previously limited to adding 1 photo at a time.  Now you can select multiple images when choosing to create a PDF.  Not only that, but you can now also choose to append your chosen photos to your current PDF; they’ll be inserted at the page after the one you are currently viewing.

Delete Pages

Deleting PDF pages is a brand new feature in V2.  From the thumbnail view mode, tapping Edit, you are able to select PDF pages you wish to delete from your current PDF:

Deleting PDF pages in V2

Delete PDF pages

This gives you even greater control over your PDF creations.

Acapela Children’s Voices

There are a new range of high-quality children voices, available as in-app purchases for 8 different language accents, including boy and girl.

Quick-look Settings

In V2, the document settings have been moved from the standard Settings menu and placed down on the main bottom toolbar, accessible by tapping the new document settings button:

Document settings menu in V2

Document settings

This change takes some of the most commonly changed settings and makes them quicker to access, as well as being able to see the changes made to your document as you go. Changing the page background colour, for example: now you can get exactly the right shade you require as the document changes colour in real-time.

New Document Setting: Scroll mode

There is also a new setting on the document settings menu called Scroll mode.  This setting controls how the document is to be scrolled.  There are 2 options to choose from:

  1. Per page – this is the traditional page scrolling, where each page has a defined page break.  Swiping left or right in this mode will scroll to the next page.
  2. Continuous – page scrolling is continuous and there are no page breaks.  Scrolling is like scrolling through one big page; there are no defined page breaks.

Other improvements and bug fixes

Check out the ClaroPDF V2 release notes for full details on other improvements and changes in V2:

http://www.clarosoftware.com/help/claropdf-v2-release-notes/

Claro ScanPen V1.6 Released

Claro ScanPen V1.6 has been released on the iOS App Store!

This update includes a number of useful features:

  • ScanPen can now automatically copy the selected text to your device’s clipboard ready to paste into another app. This feature is switched off by default, to turn it on simply open ScanPen’s settings and select “Advanced settings” and switch on “Copy selected text to clipboard”.
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  • A share button can be enabled in Advanced Settings. This lets you export your image to other apps, email and other destinations.
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  • ScanPen now includes a range of Acapela kids voices, that are available as in-app purchases (£3.99). Here are some samples:
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    Name Language Gender Audio Sample
    Liam English (Australia) Male
    Olivia English (Australia) Female
    Harry English (UK) Male
    Rosie English (UK) Female
    Jonas German Male
    Lea German Female
    Ella English (USA) Female
    Emilio English (USA) Male
    Josh English (USA) Male
    Scott English (USA) Male
    Valeria English (USA) Female
    Emilio Spanish (USA) Male
    Valeria Spanish (USA) Female

ClaroSpeak V2.6 Released

The start of May 2017 brought a big update to our ClaroSpeak app.  Read below for more details.

iCloud and Locations integration

You can now open and save files directly from your iCloud Drive and other locations on your device.

This new feature gives you the ability to import or export your files from any app on your device, without ever having to leave the ClaroSpeak app.

Four free voices

The existing voices that came shipped with ClaroSpeak have been removed and you can now download 4 free voices in the language of your choice. This means you can get the exact voices in the languages that you need, to match your requirements.

App containers

ClaroSpeak can now share its documents with different versions, so Free, Standard and Plus versions of the app can all access the same documents.  This is useful if you’ve just upgraded: you no longer have to manually transfer over documents.  It can also act as a backup incase you need to remove a version of ClaroSpeak: if you have another version of the app installed, your files will be remembered.

Settings cleanup

The settings menu has been streamlined and reorganised to make it easier to navigate. There is also a new speech rate slider that is more accurate and lets you select more precise values.

Integrated with the Audio controls on the iOS control centre

ClaroSpeak audio can now be controlled using the iOS controls on the control centre, allowing you quickly stop. play and skip through, without having to enter the app.

Support for Google SignIn

Full support for the new Google Authentication, so you can access Google Drive in the app.

ClaroCom V1.4 Released

In April 2017, we updated our ClaroCom app with a couple of great new features:

Link & chat to iOS device (Pro only)

This adds the ability to connect your device to any other device that is also using ClaroCom. You can then chat between the devices using the text that you type or words or phrases that you select. You can also use your word and phrase prediction to help you compose messages.

This feature is disabled by default, but you can switch it on in the ClaroCom Settings menu:

Then new button will appear on the top toolbar:

Tap this button to open the chat connection window.  ClaroCom will then automatically search for any other devices in range that are also using ClaroCom.  When you find a device you want to connect to, tap it to ask them to chat:

When you are connected, you can close the chat connection window are start chatting:

When you are finished, you can open the chat connection window and tap Disconnect to close the chat and return ClaroCom back to its normal use.

This feature requires bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  The devices must both be using ClaroCom and be on the same Wi-Fi network or within bluetooth range.

Added support for split screen on iPads

You can now use ClaroCom in multi-tasking mode, allowing you to run it split-screen with other apps:

Updated Icon

We’ve also updated the app icons to a more modern style as well as updating the Speak button to match this.

ClaroPDF V1.9 Released

ClaroPDF V1.9 update is now available on the iOS App Store.

What’s new in V1.9?

  • Four free voices – you can now download up to 4 of our high-quality voices for free, inside the Store in ClaroPDF. ClaroPDF no longer comes pre-installed with any installed high-quality voices, so the initial app install time should be significantly reduced. Then you can choose to download your preferred voices in a wide range of languages.
  • Improvements to the “Convert as Text PDF” feature.
  • Export annotations as text.
  • New Animated Speech Highlighting on sentence mode.
  • New background colour chooser.
  • New speech rate slider.
  • Bug fixes.

See the ClaroPDF V1.9 Release Notes page for more detailed information.

ClaroPDF V1.8 Released

The latest version of ClaroPDF is now available in the App Store!

What’s New in V1.8?

  • iCloud Integration: ClaroPDF is now fully integrated with iCloud Drive so you can save to, and open from your iCloud Drive across all of your iOS devices. You can also quickly save and open documents from other compatible apps using the iCloud Drive feature
  • New My Documents list: There is a brand new My Documents list in V1.8. This new documents list is smoother, faster and organises your documents alphabetically into sections. D
  • Search – there is now a search bar so you can search for documents.
  • Improved rename, move and delete features – these features have an improved UI and it is now possible to move/delete multiple documents simultaneously.
  • Improved the launch of ClaroPDF so it launches faster and cleaner.
  • Many other bug fixes and performance improvements.

Follow @ClaroPDF on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.

Check out The Codpasts recent review of our ClaroSpeak Plus App!

ClaroSpeak V2.5 Released

The latest version of ClaroSpeak is now available in the App Store!

What’s New in V2.5?

  • Rich text formatting. You can now bold, italicise, underline, bullet and add images to your ClaroSpeak document.
  • New layout settings. Change the character, line, paragraph spacing as well as the page margin to view text more easily.
  • More font types. A larger number of font types are available to use in settings.
  • Claro autocorrect. We’ve compiled a list of common misspellings which ClaroSpeak will use to correct what you type.
  • Open image files. Open image files in ClaroSpeak to begin the OCR process to convert the image into text.
  • Open in. Using the Export > ‘Open in…’ option allows you to open your document in other apps on your device which are capable of handling RTF files.
  • Print. Print is now an option in the export menu. Compatible with AirPrint printers.

Follow @ClaroSpeak on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.

Check out The Codpasts recent review of ClaroSpeak Plus!

ClaroPDF V1.4.2 Released

The latest version of ClaroPDF is now available in the App Store!

What’s New in V1.4?

  • Photo to PDF: You can now convert photos and other images to fully accessible Text PDF files that can be spoken, searched, copied and highlighted*. Using this new feature, you can now turn paper into speakable PDF files that you can annotate.

Find out more about this new feature in our Exploring Photo to PDF article.

  • Convert to Text PDF: As well as converting photos, you can also convert any PDF file in ClaroPDF into a fully accessible Text PDF file. Along with making these PDF files speakable, it will also compress them, reducing file size.
  • *50 pages can be converted using the 50 included credits. Further credit can be purchased in app.
  • Sync with iCloud: You can now sync ClaroPDF with your iCloud account. This lets you store and synchronise your PDF files and annotations across multiple devices. Sync with iCloud can also act as a document backup so you can keep your documents safe.
  • Save as PDF app extension: Save as PDF lets you convert text, images and webpages to PDF files from Safari and almost any other app that handles text, images or webpages. When converted, these new PDF files will appear in your documents list inside ClaroPDF.
  • New voice ranges: The Acapela and CereProc voice ranges are now available to download for ClaroPDF, allowing even more accents and dialogues. These new voices are available as in app purchases.  This new version of ClaroPDF also comes with a free download of the Scottish Heather CereProc voice, which you can download from inside ClaroPDF.
  • Improved annotations import/export: The import/export annotations feature in ClaroPDF now has the standard .xfdf file format to allow greater compatibility with other applications.
  • Improved switch mechanism: The switch control in ClaroPDF has been updated to allow greater compatibility with more bluetooth switch devices.
  • Organised Settings menu: The Settings menu in ClaroPDF has now been condensed into separate section windows, with the main settings remaining on the main Settings page. This makes the Settings menu easier to read and quicker to navigate.

Follow @ClaroPDF on Twitter for the latest news and hints & tips.

Check out The Codpasts recent review of our ClaroSpeak Plus App!