Braille has been helping the blind and vision-impaired to read and communicate for more than 150 years. Now Google wants to help blind and vision-impaired Android users put braille to work on their smartphones.
To do so, Google developed a virtual braille keyboard called TalkBack. In essence, it divides the user's screen into six zones, each one representing one of the six dots used to signify different letters, numbers and characters in the braille alphabet. By touching those six zones in different combinations, vision-impaired Android users can put braille to work to let them type in a format they're already familiar with.
Initially available in English only, TalkBack is rolling out to all devices running Android 5.0 or later beginning Thursday. To turn it on, just head to the accessibility section of your Android settings. Google says that it supports braille grades 1 and 2, and that it'll work across all Android apps. The company also adds that you can turn it on and off the same way you switch between different international keyboards.
"As part of our mission to make the world's information universally accessible, we hope this keyboard can broadly expand braille literacy and exposure among blind and low vision people," reads Google's press release announcing the new keyboard, which you can read in full here.