Braille input with the built-in keyboard, AND/OR a small external keyboard?

Braille on Apple Products


Iʻd love to find and try some small, portable, and affordable USB-keyboards (as I donʻt like bluetooth keyboards) for typing in braille.
It needs input only; no need to visualize the output (but Iʻd love if I could get the system to show or tell me what I type in braille).
Would Xkeys XK-24 work? Have any of you used that?
Iʻd use it mostly for writing and studying, AND in addition to the built-in keyboard and VoiceOver.
Iʻd love something that would allow to be used as a plain Perkins-keyboard type, AND then Iʻll need to figure how to stick to a Braille language input in a way that OS X and the app will understand (OK, I can figure that when using it - I simply need several languages, and will need to develop Braille fluency in other languages and mathematics too).
Sorry, Iʻve got a bad case of beginner Braille learnerʻs spatial/switch dyslexia. :)



Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Monday, January 12, 2015

Unforchenetly this kind of keyboard doesn't exist. IF it did, I'd buy it strait away.

Submitted by Unuhinuiʻi on Monday, January 12, 2015

ATMac has an xk-24, but he doesnʻt do Braille, and has different needs for that keyboard than mine.
XKeys tech support emailed me with more info about how that keyboard can be programmed, and I think Iʻll *need* (or want) to give it a go. Itʻs a lot cheaper than any Perkins USB small keyboards Iʻve found so far.
What I use now for my Braille learning = @ iPhone: BrailleTouch | works pretty accurately for me when itʻs on level, AND when Iʻm not too tired to think "straight" in Braille mode ; @ iPad mini: Virtual Brailller | it works great for my braille thinking. - but with either of these solutions, the problem is there is no keys to hit; I need MUSCLE MEMORY... and in many different forms.
I got today for my OS X an app called Braille Writer Student, and itʻll help - but itʻs awkward when youʻve got to think how to type letters with hitting sdfjkl keys on the Mac keyboard. Itʻll do for some beginner stuff, but I need something that has the keys comfortably (and that will then learn over time).
XK-24 also would have the benefit for me that I could use it with a virtual machine (windows), as USB devices can be forwarded from the host to the guest. Iʻm not fluent in Windows or Windows programming, but itʻs probably a good thing since having to learn how to make that type of keyboard work for Windows, Iʻd also be able to use the apps I only would need to use in Windows (and guess what? All have to do with learning about vision problems and Braille. All win).
But other keyboard ideas are very welcome. Iʻm a beginner, and Iʻve got a student budget. :)

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Monday, January 12, 2015

Hi. Having just taken a quick look at there site, i don't think it's what you want. Not only is it over $100 but it also doesn't have a braille key layout. Another thing would be how accessible would it be to change the keys bindings? i think they're called. E.G. If I press shift I, i know it will give me a capital I, but how would i change that using this keyboard to jump me strate to the internet for example and how accessible would that be.

But I kind of love the idea of what xk-24 can be extended to be used with/for. //
Letʻs see: Iʻm heavily using all Appleʻs accessibility features in a good variety of products (so the app store always asks for confirmation for any purchase in the least accessible way for anyone to enter), AND I know I could get a bunch of Apple and VMware developers interested in the possibilities. / Programming xk-24 for Windows needs as a virtual machine/native OS/specific apps is easy to find help for; I might need to try to figure the most convenient initial setup for writing (in an app/system wide/language-wise/per language)... so Iʻll be best able to reconfigure it/have it reconfigured. Oh: and I need to also figure what apps and how the OS recognizes in what language of Braille input Iʻm typing. :)
- What kind of cheap USB-connected Perkins-type keyboards are there? I donʻt know how to search by price or affordability for me.

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

As far as I know, there aren't any.
I do have a question and I don't want to sound rude but, why do you use questionmarks instead of apostrafies? Is it a keyboard issue?

Submitted by Unuhinuiʻi on Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ʻ instead of '?
It's a keyboard issue. I find a specific keyboard work better for my needs - one that doesn't really give me any usable feedback in language or spelling, and is VERY close to the regular US layout.
It'll help me with my braille too... because I may have to force the OS listening system to understand what language's Braille I'm typing in. 8) ha!

Submitted by Unuhinuiʻi on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ooh, I got finally the built-in Perkins layout to work in iOS 8 on my iPad mini. :)

VoiceOver on, text field -> rotor -> input method or something... it has both the tabletop mode (3 2 1 - 4 5 6, from left to right) and hands on sides (so you get each 3 cells on the same side). Flip to switch between the modes, and easy to recalibrate. When I type, the dots are moving a bit, but hey, itʻs good practice to figure how to type. :)

Now the only other thing I need to figure with that keyboard (other than how to learn to type so the dots donʻt move) is how to do space, row change, and delete character.