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Software Brings Braille Keyboards To Touch Screen Devices

Software Brings Braille Keyboards To Touch Screen Devices

New software allows the blind to type braille on touch-screens…

Software developed during a summer course at Stanford, allows the blind to navigate tablet PCs via a braille keyboard.

Developed by Adam Duran, a senior at New Mexico State University, Adrian Lew, a Stanford assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Sohan Dharma raja, a doctoral candidate, the new touch-screen braille writer could provide a cheap and effective way for those with severely impaired vision to utilize the technology of mobile touch-screen devices.

The demo doesn’t explain exactly how the device allows the user to ‘feel’ the keyboard, however judging by previous technology it’s likely some form of haptic feedback that mimics the dots of the braille characters.

The software imposes eight adjustable keys – based on the standard braille keyboard – on the tablet’s touch-screen. To bring up the keyboard the user simply presses eight fingers anywhere on the screen and the button are automatically set to that position. The keyboard can be set to various configurations.

If any problems occur the user can simply reset the keyboard by lifting all fingers and placing them back on the touch-screen.

The software is not the first wireless braille keyboard, however previous designs have been rather limited, and extremely expensive – at least $4000 dollars upwards.

The adjustable nature of the new software accommodates users with small or large fingers. And the fact the software can be utilized with existing tablet technology not only makes it easily accessible, but much cheaper than previous designs.

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  1. Christopher MacManus: Tablet app brings new touch to Braille. Cnet, 10/12/2011.

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