Researchers at Georgia Tech produced the app - to be made available on Apple and Android devices - based on the Braille writing system. It is claimed typing with the app is up to six times faster than existing methods for texting without sight. Access to technology for the visually-impaired is a growing issue due to the proliferation of touchscreens.
Experts say currently available tools, such as Apple's Voiceover technology, are functional but too slow to be used effectively.
Brailletouch, which the team hope to release in the next couple of weeks, uses a system that is controlled with six fingers and, crucially, does not require any movement of the hands. "Users who know how to type Braille well never move their hands," explained Mario Romero, lead researcher on the project. "When users hold the phone they hold the phone with the screen facing away from them in landscape mode. "They wrap the index, middle and ring finger in each hand around the phone. "It's not like the Qwerty keyboard where you move up and down. That's why this thing works - we can get away with only six keys."
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