[laptop-accessibility] Input Devices For Blind/Impaired Users

Fernando my.lists at f123.org
Mon Oct 22 20:14:46 EDT 2007

Forgive me if I missed an important e-mail on the list, but with all due
respect, I see no reason why anyone should use a Braille keyboard.

While I have not had the chance to touch the XO, assuming its keyboard is
not smaller than that on a Fujitsu 1120, which is the smallest keyboard I
have seen, no blind child will ever have problems using it.

The only two situations where I can see an advantage in using a Braille
keyboard is (i) when someone grew up using one, and has trouble getting used
to a conventional keyboard, and (ii), when a extremely small device where a
normal keyboard does not fit.  None of these circumstances really apply

On the other hand, I see important problems with this approach: (i) it is a
significant additional cost, (ii), a potential source for technical and
other problems, (iii), it leaves the child dependent on yet another adaptive
device making him/her that much less competitive in the workplace, (iv), it
reduces the XO's portability and convenience, and (v), it will probably
reduce the speed of data entry for most blind students.

As to speech to text solutions, this is a common misconception.  I have
rarely seen a blind computer user that was not a faster typist than most of
my sighted friends.

For children without the use of their hands, it seems to me that Dasher
might be the way to go, as far as speed, accuracy, effectiveness in
difficult environments, and any software porting issues.  However, this is
an area that others will know in far greater detail than I do.

-----Original Message-----
From: accessibility-bounces at lists.laptop.org
[mailto:accessibility-bounces at lists.laptop.org] On Behalf Of big one
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 10:07 AM
To: accessibility at lists.laptop.org
Subject: [laptop-accessibility] Input Devices For Blind/Impaired Users

Great idea on Braille keyboards. Another idea is "Speech to Text" software
for Linux / DOS (using DOSEMU or WINE). 

I hope charity organizations can donate XO laptops with special Braille
hardware/software to blind students in poor, developing countries.

Various Braille software/hardware:

http://www.tsbvi.edu/technology/overview.htm#Braille Access

USB Braille Keyboard for Linux:


Bluetooth Braille Keyboard from Swiss (use Bluetooth to USB Converter):


Braille Keyboard for scientific text and musical scores from Spain:


Old Linux speech to text HOWTO:


Java based speech to text free software:


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