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Can Braille be faster than QWERTY? BrailleTouch free app for touch-screen smartphones

February 20, 2012

A post-doc researcher, Mario Romero, at Georgia Institute of Technology has co-developed an app, called BrailleTouch, that could help blind people send text messages and type e-mails on touch-screen smartphones without the need for expensive, extra equipment. To use the app, people hold their phones with the screens facing away from them and punch combinations of six touch-screen buttons to form characters. The app speaks a letter aloud after it's been registered, so there's no need to see the screen.

The system is designed for blind and visually impaired people, who otherwise have to purchase thousand-dollar machines or cumbersome "hover-over" (more on that later) keyboards to be able to type on no-button smartphones. But Romero sees a spin-off for the technology: The touch-screen Braille keyboard is so fast that sighted people may start using it, too.

"It may be a solution for everybody to get their eyes off their phone so they can walk and text or watch TV and make a comment on a blog," he said by phone. "It may free the sighted people's eyes" and help visually impaired people to type more easily.

The free app, which is being developed for Apple iOS and Google Android devices, should be available in a matter of weeks, he said.

Read the full article and watch a YouTube video of the app in action:
Can Braille be faster than QWERTY? App developer thinks so
by John D. Sutter, CNN
February 20, 2012 - CNN What's Next Blog

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