Following an announcement at Google’s I/O developer conference in May 2018, Morse code support for Gboard on iOS is now available.
Google further announced that improvements to Morse code on Gboard for Android are rolling out now, along with a game available on Android, iOS and desktop, that instructs players on how to type in Morse code. Google promises that it’ll teach players the skill in less than an hour.
Additionally, the Mountain View-based tech giant published a blog post by Tania Finlayson, an expert in Morse code assistive technology who has cerebral palsy.
Finlayson explained how meaningful the introduction of Morse code assistive tech was in her own life, allowing her to easily communicate with a full vocabulary. Before using Morse code tech, she had employed a stick and typewriter combination to communicate. Previous to that she used a stick to point at a word board with approximately 200 words on it.
As technology becomes more advanced, so do the opportunities for technology to make an even more meaningful difference in the lives of individuals with specific accessibility needs. Google’s Morse code support for Gboard is a perfect example.
With the support, people with limited mobility can attach an external switch (meaning a controller like a joystick attached to a wheelchair) and input dots and dashes to to enter text — with auto-correct suggestions. This allows for super simple communication with friends and family, and gives the user more independence.
Google’s not alone in working toward better supports for people with disabilities. Microsoft and Apple are at work on improving accessibility features as well — but the industry still has a long way to go.