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Tipo – Smartphone Braille Keyboard

A keyboard accessory for smartphone typing in braille.

  • Lyle Rodericks and Vijay Varada
  • After working with a user group of visually impaired on earlier version's of braille keyboards, it was highlighted that there is no comprehensive way of typing into a smartphone. Current software solutions are too slow, do not give good tactile feedback or just are a pain to type with. Even though there are many soft keyboards available, we couldn't find someone in our study group who uses any of the soft keyboards.
  • How might we:

    1. Create a tactile interface in a small form factor that can be used in conjunction with a smartphone.
    2. Create a better interface for a smartphone for the visually challenged.
    3. Make it quick and easy to setup
    1. Braille gets recognized by the native OS
    2. Users prefer it to other keyboard options
  • Our proposed solution will be a device with 6 buttons to symbolize the braille alphabet.

    Pressing these buttons in specific combinations will register as different alphabets.

    The device will use a USB-HID chip that will be recognized as a keyboard on a USB port so that alphabets can be sent as keystrokes to the host device.

  • The features are:

    1. Recognize braille alphabet based on 6-button interface
    2. USB host recognizes the device as a USB keyboard
    3. Send keystrokes to the phone as if it is a normal keyboard
    4. Add 2 extra buttons to implement backspace, space and enter
  • [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJcwzqGf29o[/youtube]

  • [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJA7PLn8t54[/youtube]

  • This is what we observed:

    • When the device is attached vertically, along the length of the phone, it is a little inconvenient to grip it.
    • The placement of the keypad causes a little inconvenience in the wrist while gripping the device.
    • Stray touches to the touchscreen while typing.
    • The space key is a positive differentiator.
    • Buttons need to have a stronger actuator.
    1. Braille gets recognized by the native OS
    2. Users prefer it to other keyboard options
    3. Users can type 5 sentences without repositioning the device
    4. Users can type 5 sentences without any stray touches occurring
    5. Users can type 5 sentences without a false negative keystroke
  • Suggested incorporation of means of navigating the smartphone through the keypad.

    Suggested option of switching between Braille typing and any other popular mode like T9 or QWERTY keypad for people who have recently lost their vision.

  • Suggested incorporation of means of navigating the smartphone through the keypad.
    Suggested option of switching between Braille typing and any other popular mode like T9 or QWERTY keypad for people who have recently lost their vision.

  • [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KrF9IJwGso[/youtube]

  • https://github.com/lyle963/Tipo

December 7, 2018

2 responses on "Tipo - Smartphone Braille Keyboard"

  1. REALLY GREAT PROJECT. PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THE SWITCH works, could you elaborate the mechanism.

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