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Google introduces braille keyboard for Android

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Google introduces braille keyboard for Android
Credit score: Google

Google launched a built-in digital Braille keyboard for blind and visually impaired customers final week. The brand new TalkBack keyboard was enabled Thursday on units operating Android 5.0 or later. Distribution will proceed all through this week.

The keyboard consists of six keys representing the dots used to create letters, quantity and symbols in Braille. For instance, the letter “A” in Braille is represented by the button labeled “1.” The letter “B” is typed by urgent buttons “1” and “2” concurrently.

Google devised the brand new program working carefully with builders specializing in Braille purposes. In a weblog publish final week, Google acknowledged that anybody who has already used Braille will likely be acquainted with the brand new program.

“As a part of our mission to make the world’s data universally accessible,” the Google publish mentioned, “we hope this keyboard can broadly increase Braille literacy and publicity amongst blind and low-vision folks.”

Visually impaired people have lengthy needed to depend on bodily keyboards linked to their computer systems to permit them to sort in Braille. Such methods, based on the American Basis for the Blind, value between $3,500 and $15,000.

For now, this system is obtainable solely in English.

To activate the brand new keyboard, customers ought to go to the Accessibility part in Android Settings. Grades 1 and a pair of in Braille are supported. Grade 1 consists of elementary letters and characters, Grade 2 provides phonetic symbols, punctuation, formatting marks, contractions and abbreviations.

This system gives suggestions to customers as they sort. The suggestions is usually a spoken letter, phrase, vibration or different sorts of audible response. There’s additionally gesture performance to delete letters or phrases, begin a brand new line or ship textual content to a recipient.

Google has supplied a sequence of improvements over time to help visually impaired customers. In 2018, it unveiled Voice Entry, which allows customers to regulate their units utilizing solely their voice. When initiated, numbers seem onscreen subsequent to any actionable choices resembling clicking, saving, deleting and sending.

Final fall, a brand new characteristic was added for Chrome internet browser customers that acknowledges photographs and makes use of synthetic intelligence to explain what seems in these photographs. Beforehand, visually impaired customers would hear solely that a picture or “unlabeled graphic” is current.

Additionally final fall, Google launched Reside Caption, which generates real-time captioning for movies, podcasts and audio messages on Pixel 4 smartphones. The characteristic as later expanded to older mannequin telephones. Reside Caption doesn’t work on voice or video calls.

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