Google’s new keyboard helps Android users type in braille

It doesn’t require additional hardware, and it works in any app that lets you add text.


Today, Google is rolling out a new keyboard that will let blind and low-vision users type in braille without any additional hardware and in any app. The TalkBack braille keyboard is integrated directly into Android, so it should work whether you’re posting on social media, responding to a text or writing an email.

Google says the keyboard will be familiar to anyone who has typed using braille before. Once TalkBack is turned on in the Accessibility section, you’ll swipe up with three fingers to open the keyboard. It has a standard six-key layout, and each key represents one of six braille dots. To type an “A” for instance you’d press dot one, and to type “B”, dots one and two together. To start, the braille keyboard is only available in English on Android devices running version 5.0 or later.

Google Talkback braille keyboard

Until now, typing in braille has usually required users to connect an external device, which can be a time-consuming nuisance when you just want to type something quickly on your phone. As part of its ongoing mission to make technology more accessible, Google hopes the TalkBack braille keyboard will change that. It adds to some of Google’s past accessibility efforts, like using AI to describe images in Chrome, Voice Access, real-time captioning and apps like Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier.