Tablet app puts Braille keyboard at your fingertips

The lack of tactile feedback makes typing on a touchscreen difficult at the best of times, but the problem is even worse for blind and visually impaired users. That's set to change thanks to Adam Duran, a student on a summer course at Stanford University who has come up with aBraille keyboard for tablets.
The standard QWERTY keyboard on most tablets requires you to find small keys on a smooth, glass screen without any touchable clues to guide you. Instead, Duran's app offers a standard eight-key Braille keyboard that appears wherever you place your fingers on the screen.

That means you don't have to worry about locating the keys and can just start typing Braille code, in which combinations of the keys are used to type letters, numbers, and symbols. The tablet provides feedback by reading out each letter as it is typed. Users can also choose from a variety of specialised keyboard layouts, such as one for chemical formulae.
Currently, Braille typists rely on expensive dedicated devices that can cost over $6,000 and have few other uses. "Your standard tablet has more capability at a tenth the price," says Duran, but adds there are "technical and legal hurdles to address" before the keyboard becomes widely available.