Those of us who are blessed with normal faculties of sight, speech, hearing etc take so much for granted. As someone once said, “I felt bad that I did not have a new pair of shoes till I saw a man who had no legs”.
In this context, it is nice to see that some folks at Georgia Tech have designed an app called BrailleTouch for smartphones. The idea is to enable visually challenged people also take advantage of modern marvels.
Mario Romero, a post-doctoral Fellow in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing is leading a team of researchers to create what is intended to be a complete solution that eliminates the need to look at the device’s display. This concept can thus be adapted for design of special smartphones that visually challenged people can use to send text messages. Err… txt msgs.
Personally, I find typing on the small screens of smartphones quite difficult. Perhaps a combination of my attitude and pudgy fingers is to blame. So I found it remarkable that in tests of the BrailleTouch, visually impaired users were able to type up to 32 words per minute. At 92% accuracy, I dare say they were more accurate than I might have been, even when I am working with all my senses in top gear.
The BrailleTouch is based on Computer Braille, a system of typing that lets users press different combinations of just six buttons to generate 63 different characters. This form of Braille even allows you to type spaces and backspaces.