Could An App Make Wireless Braille Displays Obsolete?

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I just stumbled upon a CNET news article about researchers working on an app that could potentially remove the need for a wireless Braille display.

The app would allow people to use Braille directly on a tablet's touch-screen.

According to the article, the app would have eight keys (similar to a standard Braille keyboard) which would not have a predefined position, but rather work with the location of the fingers. A user simply presses eight fingers anywhere on the screen, and the keys are automatically oriented to that location. If there's a problem, users simply lift their fingers and put them down again.

I am not a Braille user, so don't know if this is something with real potential, or whether it has too many limitations to make it usable (for example the article observes that there is no mention of haptic feedback). However, the financial implications of having a software alternative to expensive hardware certainly makes this a project to watch.

View the full CNET article

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Braille Input is mostly secondary

The issue in my mind is that an app like this only seems to support Braille input. WHile this is a nice idea, I primarily use my display for output, reading the pins that pop up like I would a Braille book. Until someone comes up with a way to arbitrarily warp the shape of a touchscreen, Braille displays, wireless and even wired, will stay. Sorry to burst your bubble somewhat.

I agree. While this

I agree. While this technology is cool, and may replace a Braille input device, it will not replace a Braille display.I've heard of work on a screen protector of sorts that can react to the screen under it, and raise dots. That sounds cool too.

I agree with Jack 100%. A

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I agree with Jack 100%. A cool thing to have, and it could help in certain situations, but wireless braille displays will never go away. While many blind people can function fine with just speech, some prefer to read documents and such on their iPhones. Also, many people who are deaf-blind are now getting iDevices that connect to wireless displays. Unless some sort of touch screen is developed as listed above, I don't forsee any time in the near future where this will happen. Good topic though...