Google Introduces a Braille Keyboard for Android

The Google Talkback keyboard on an Android phone.Google

Today, Google announced a new keyboard, dubbed TalkBack, for Android. But it’s not like any keyboard the company has introduced before—this one is for Braille users.

Usually, to type in braille, you’d have to connect an external device meant for braille usage. That can be time-consuming and inconvenient, especially for quick messages on a phone. Thanks to Google’s new TalkBack keyboard, that’s not necessary for Android phones (running Android 5.0 or later).

To accomplish this seemingly impossible task of creating a touchscreen braille keyboard, Google worked with braille users and developers throughout the process.  It uses a braille-standard 6-key layout with each key representing one of 6 braille dots. When tapped in the correct combination, you can make any letter or symbol.

The keyboard works anywhere you can type, and you can delete letters and words, add lines, and submit the text. You use the same process to switch international keyboards to turn the keyboard on and off.

Google is rolling out the keyboard to devices running Android 5.0 or later starting today. To enable the keyboard, open “Settings,” go to “Accessibility, then select “TalkBack.” Google posted full instructions on its Android Accessibility Help website.

via Google

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