Texting App Not Just for the Blind

February 23, 2012 at 6:00 am 1 comment

Hi MAT 120 students! Hope all is well! On Saturday, I was looking through CNET’s website (www.cnet.com) and one specific article caught my eye. The summary for the article immediately drew me in. It talked about how some Georgia Tech students developed a texting app for the visually impaired.

There are many different ways for a visually impaired person to text. There are voice-to-text applications that converts what you say to text, but sometimes those aren’t always reliable. You might come across the program translating the wrong wording. Another way is a keyboard that uses the Braille writing system that hooks up to your phone. However, these keyboards start at around $1000. Now, thanks to students at Georgia Tech, the visually impaired can text, for FREE! Who doesn’t love free?

The Braille Alphabet

These students developed the Braille Touch, which is an open source app that transforms the Braille writing system into a touch-screen keyboard for smartphones. The Braille system uses six dots arranged in six-position matrix or cell. So this app’s keyboard only uses six keys and converts gestures into input points. The way it works is the user faces their phone away from them, places the phone in their palms, use their fingers to gesture a specific letter.The app will then confirm which letter was chosen through sound.

The best part is that the app is not just for the visually impaired. According to the project leader for the app, Mario Romero, anyone can learn how to type in the Braille alphabet in a matter of minutes, without having to learn how to be able to read the alphabet. Previous studies show that those who learn Braille typing can type up to 32 words per minute with a 92% accuracy.

Currently, the Georgia tech team developed the Braille Touch for the iPhone and iPad. They are working on developing it for Android. Already though, the app won the MobileHCI 2011 competition for design.

I do have to throw in a disclaimer for this app. Even though it does allow you to text faster, it was not made to help you text quickly while you drive. Please don’t text and drive, it’s dangerous!

Hope you enjoyed my post! If you want to read the original article click here.
And don’t forget the quiz!

Remember, don’t text and drive!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Katie  |  February 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Hi everyone! Just as a follow up, I actually received an email from someone from newsy.com who gave me a link to Newsy’s coverage about this app. If you would like to check out their video, and find out more you can find it here:


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