Google Launches Virtual Braille Keyboard for Android
At least 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment or blindness, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). In response to those staggering numbers, the tech giant Google is launching a virtual braille keyboard for Android smartphones, which will help those who are living with low vision or blindness. Such individuals will be able to type without any additional hardware.
Google worked together with braille developers and users to design a keyboard that can be used anywhere—social media, text messaging, and email apps. Here's how it works: the keyboard uses a standard 6-key layout, and each key represents one of 6 braille dots, which, when tapped, make any letter or symbol. A user will tap dot 1 to type the letter A, tap dots 1 and 2 to type the letter B, tap dots 1 and 4 to type the letter C, tap dots 1, 4, and 5 to type the letter D, and so on.
"Today, braille displays make typing accessible on most phones and computers through a physical braille keyboard. But it can be time-consuming to connect an external device each time you want to type something quickly on your phone," wrote Android Accessibility product manager Brian Kemler in a blog post. "As part of our mission to make the world's information universally accessible, we hope this keyboard can broadly expand braille literacy and exposure among blind and low vision people."
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