Google now offers a TalkBack Braille keyboard for people who are blind or have severely impaired vision. This is a new virtual keyboard, which will be integrated directly into Android smartphones. The braille displays made typing accessible for the blind people but that is pretty time consuming to connect the external device and also the price is very high. Here this keyboard doesn’t require any extra hardware as this is a part of the Android Accessibility Suite.
The braille keyboard uses a standard 6-key layout where each key represents one of 6 braille dots, which will form letters and symbols when tapped in combination like:
- 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.”
Type braille wherever you want—in an email, a text message, a doc, or social media (according to google’s blog)
You can also use gestures with this keyboard like:
- Delete letter: swipe left
- Delete word: 2-finger swipe left
- Add space: swipe right
- New line: 2-finger swipe right
- Submit text: 2-finger swipe up
Note: To view a list of all gestures, 3-finger swipe up on your screen. In the list of braille keyboard options, select See all gestures. Also, while using this keyboard, other Talkback gestures aren’t available.
How to enable this Virtual Braille Keyboard?
- First of all, you need to enable the TalkBack feature and you can do that with the help of these instructions.
- Then to set up this keyboard you can follow this support document.
This virtual braille keyboard is rolling out today and will be available to Android 5.0 devices and newer. This keyboard is supported by all apps on your Android device. In this keyboard, you can type in braille grade 1 and grade 2 initially in English.