The difficulty of certain accessibility tools, such as Braille, is that it requires an entirely new piece of technology to use it with a computer. This may no longer be the case.
A new research group has transformed the iPad tablet into a Braille keyboard, which is much more accessible than the traditional ones or mechanical devices that transform speech into text. The way this works is by having a system that is designed to actually find the fingers when they are in the right position, and since most people have a general idea of where the keys are on the keyboard the software then just identifies where the user is pressing down approximately.
The research team, a couple undergraduates and an assistant professor from New Mexico University, came together as part of an innovation competition put on by Stanford University every summer. Since things like the iPad, which their lack of concrete physical form, add so much in terms of accessibility, the students found that it was the perfect vessel to update a tool that assists in the interactivity for disabled users.
Beyond its obvious features it is then designed to assist in taking notes for blind students in the classroom, which will cut down on the incredible cost of note takers. Users will have to know Braille to be able to use the device, but this is an implied feature of information technology for blind users generally.
This is only one example of the iPad’s incredible use for disabled accessibility, going far beyond what was just included in the iOS. Since its large touch screen can essentially be molded to a number of different purposes, it has the ability to be amorphous enough to adapt to the special needs of different people. You can expect to see this technology as the forefront of more development efforts to meet the needs of those who have different skills.