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There have been many modern advances that have tried to make technology more accessible to the disabled. Certainly, there have been some companies that have tried to design specialised touchphones for the blind, and even proper laptops with Braille keys are much too expensive and rarely very useful in everyday situations.

So perhaps this new app designed by NMSU undergraduate Adam Duran, along with Stanford Assistant Professor Adrian Lew, and Stanford Doctoral candidate Sohan Dharmaraja over the Army High Performance Computing Research Center’s summer course held at Stanford, could help make the smooth screen of a tablet more functional for the blind person.

The app in question, duplicates a modern digital Braille writer, which is more or less like a laptop with no monitor and an eight-key keyboard, only it makes it more customisable for the user.

It would be relatively hard to find the keys on a smooth flat surface like a tablet, so the clever design of the app was to bring the keys to the user, instead of having the user find static keys. The user simply needs to touch eight fingertips to the screen, and the keys automatically orient themselves of the fingers. The setting is easily reset by lifting all fingers off the screen, if the user becomes disoriented.

Watch a video demonstration of the app here.

Aside from the difference in price for the user, a touchscreen device would also allow for customization, being able to accommodate users who have small or large fingers. It can even allow the user to type with the tablet hanging on the neck with the hand as if playing a clarinet.

I think development on this app really goes a long way in helping to make technology more accessible to the disabled. I certainly would not mind seeing more apps like these out in the market.