Helping The Blind To Read

Researchers at Georgia Tech produced an application – to be made available on Apple and Android devices – based on the Braille writing system.

It is claimed typing with the app is up to six times faster than existing methods for texting without sight.

Access to technology for the visually-impaired is a growing issue due to the proliferation of touchscreens.

Experts say currently available tools, such as Apple’s Voiceover technology, are functional but too slow to be used effectively.

Brailletouch,  uses a system that is controlled with six fingers and, crucially, does not require any movement of the hands.

When users hold the phone they hold the phone with the screen facing away from them in landscape mode.  They wrap the index, middle and ring finger in each hand around the phone.  It’s not like the Qwerty keyboard where you move up and down. That’s why this thing works – we can get away with only six keys.”

Brailletouch will be free and open-source, its makers say, and it is hoped it could even become an “eyes-free” solution for fully-sighted people who want to text while visually pre-occupied with something else.

“It took me and my colleagues a few hours to memorize things so we could start typing at around 10 words per minute. It’s not something that takes years.

“We’re hoping that, if not Braille, a similar system may solve the issue of having too many keys that are too small that force everybody to look at the screen when they’re typing.”