BrailleTouch App Makes Eyes-Free Texting Possible (You Still Can’t Text And Drive, Though)

Researchers at Georgia Tech developed an app that allows people who know how to type in Braille an easy way to do so on a smartphone.

Traditional Braille typing devices are mobile, but heavy. And because they’re expensive — as in thousands of dollars expensive — you don’t want to risk them by hauling around or having them out in public.

With BrailleTouch users get 6 keys, three for each hand, that are similar enough to existing Braille typing systems that it won’t take long for people to learn. Tap the correct combinations and the app will speak the letters to you. To insert a pace, just swipe the middle of the screen.

The demo prototype uses an iPhone but won’t be limited to iDevices. The team is working on an Android version right now.

While primarily aimed at people who communicate using Braille type such as the visually impaired and sighted people who live and work with them, there are also benefits for the wider smartphone-using market. Since you can use more than one finger at a time, it’s possible to type very fast. And as there are only six touchpoints, not a bunch of very tiny letters, accuracy is high. All you have to do is learn to type in Braille.

Though you’ll be able to type without looking at the screen, the team stresses in the video that this is not a solution for texting and driving. Just because you don’t take your eyes off the road doesn’t mean you’ll be able to drive well while both hands are on your phone.

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