iOS store offering QCRI’s BrailleEasy app
Representatives from Al Noor Institute for the Blind and MADA (Qatar Assistive Technology Center) and the Qatar Social and Cultural Center for the Blind (QSCCB) worked closely with developers of the Braille keyboard, by Barbara Šepi, Abdurrahman Ghanem and Stephan Vogel.
The keyboard, which can be used by both Arabic and English-speaking users, is designed to offer the convenience of using just one hand with the speed of a dual-handed Braille type pad.
BrailleEasy is “a great achievement,” according to Ikrami Ahmad, QSCCB’s activities coordinator and assistive technology specialist.
“It comes with an extensive tutorial that walks the user through step by step, the set of gestures is easy to learn and execute, and being self-voicing makes it possible for those who do not depend on screen readers to use it fully,” Ahmad said. “It also paves the way for those with limited hand movement to type in Braille on their touch screen. I have personally heard from several people on forums and mailing lists that it enables them to use their working hand to type in Braille faster than the traditional way of typing.”
The app’s code has been offered as open source and the digital tool is available for free, notes Stephan Vogel, the research director of QCRI’s Arabic Research Technologies.
QCRI is one of Hamad bin Khalifa University’s three national research institutes.
“The idea is to send BrailleEasy out into the community so that other developers, both local and worldwide, can add to it, improve it, adapt it to other languages,” Vogel said. “Developing the app in collaboration with the local community has been a very rewarding experience.”