In an empowering move, Google has launched a virtual Braille keyboard for android smartphones which does not require additional hardware. As per reports, the virtual keyboard has been integrated directly into the android system to type on multiple applications including social media, emails, and text messages. Google has collaborated with the Braille developers to create the keyboard which will work across all android smartphones and tablets, international media reported.
The Talkback keyboard uses standard 6-key layout, each key representing one of 6 Braille dots that makes it easier for people with visual impairment to type letters or symbols. One could type an ‘A' for example, by simply pressing the dot 1 and when dots 1 and 2 together, the keypad types ‘B’. One can access and activate the virtual Braille keyboard under the Accessibility section in the settings menu of the device.
According to reports, Braille grade 1 and grade 2 versions are made available initially in the English language across all apps on the androids running version 5.0 and later devices. Another way to activate the Braille keyboard would be to press both the volume keys on the Android device for at least three seconds.
Having developed BrailleBack, an accessibility service previously for android smartphones, Google has provided a typing feature this time with the creation of the virtual Braille keyboard across all platforms. The on-screen typing will cater to 2.2 billion population that suffers from visual impairment worldwide, according to WHO.
Braille keyboards have a modified display with a specialist input device to type instructions or texts that are created with raised dots and can be read via touching by the visually challenged persons. The technique employs a Braille printer or the embosser that creates virtual Braille dots for the visually challenged persons to decode the messages or written instructions, as informed by tech experts.