Microsoft and Apple helped build new braille display standard

The non-profit USB Implementers Forum announced the standard today.

Accessibility is an increasingly important issue when it comes to tech; while new technology can certainly make it easier for people with accessibility issues to interact with the world, it can also end up shutting people out. Today, the non-profit USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) announced a new standard for braille displays. It was developed in cooperation with Microsoft, Apple and other tech industry leaders.

The USB Human Interface Device (HID) standard will make it easier for blind or low vision users to use braille displays across operating systems and hardware. It will also remove the need for specialized or custom drivers and simplify development.

"We see the opportunity that advancements in technology can create for people with disabilities and have a responsibility as an industry to develop new ways of empowering everyone to achieve more," said the Microsoft's Windows accessibility program manager lead, Jeff Petty. "Developing a HID standard for braille displays is one example of how we can work together, across the industry, to advance technology in a way that benefits society and ultimately improve the unemployment rate for people with disabilities."

It's really nice to see traditional rivals like Apple and Microsoft working together on something as important as accessibility. Hopefully this partnership is fruitful and the two companies (along with other tech industry leaders) continue to work to make computers and technology more accessible for those with different kinds of impairments.