Google adds a braille keyboard to the TalkBack accessibility suite

Google adds a braille keyboard to the TalkBack accessibility suite
While all senses are important, we tend to rely most on sight. Our brain devotes more space for processing and storing visual information than all other senses combined. That's why it can be tough for blind and low-vision people to find their way in the modern, high-tech world. Typing a simple message on the phone can be a challenge, and it usually requires additional hardware.

Now Google is making things a bit easier with a new braille keyboard integrated with Android’s TalkBack accessibility suite. "TalkBack braille keyboard is a new virtual braille keyboard integrated directly into Android. It's a fast, convenient way to type on your phone without any additional hardware, whether you're posting on social media, responding to a text, or writing a brief email.", reads the description on the official blog of the company.

The keyboard utilizes six zones on the screen of a smartphone where people rest their index, middle, and ring fingers of both hands. It's like playing a musical instrument where each combination of fingers corresponds to a tone. In this case, the six zones correspond to braille dots, and different combinations result in different letters. To type an A, you press dot 1, and to type a B, dots 1 and 2 together.

It's a fast and intuitive way to type for people familiar with braille, and users can also delete lines or letters, and submit the text. Once activated and set up, TalkBack braille can be easily accessed from the international keyboard switching feature on the default Android keyboard.


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