Google has announced TalkBack, a virtual braille smartphone keyboard "integrated directly into Android."
While physical braille displays are effective tools in giving those with visual impairments access to the digital world on their smartphones and other mobile devices, the fact that this hardware must be connected and disconnected each time it's needed is a bit burdensome, especially when someone just wants to write a tweet out to their followers. To simplify this task, Google announced TalkBack on Thursday, a virtual braille keyboard available on Android.
Whether you're tweeting or responding to a text, the TalkBack braille keyboard will allow you to type on your @Android phone without any additional hardware. We hope this will broadly expand braille literacy among blind and low vision people → https://t.co/LBykyo0eGl pic.twitter.com/YeHL0VGJPK— Google (@Google) April 9, 2020
According to the company, this tool "uses a standard 6-key layout and each key represents one of 6 braille dots which, when tapped, make any letter or symbol." It can be prompted anytime the typical virtual keyboard would be used; in fact, the TalkBack tool can be set, activated and accessed like any other international keyboard can be. It can run across all applications.
TalkBack began rolling out to Android devices running version 5.0 of the operating system or more recent.