To help people with disabilities connect better, Google has rolled out “Morse code” functionalities on Gboard for iOS and improvements to “Morse code” on Gboard for Android.
Earlier this year, Google partnered with developer Tania Finlayson, an expert in Morse code assistive technology, to make Morse code more accessible.
“To help you learn how to type in Morse code, we’ve created a game (on Android, iOS, and desktop) that can help you learn it in less than an hour,” Google said in a blog post late on Wednesday. “Morse code” is a method of sending text messages by keying in a series of electronic pulses, usually represented as a short pulse (called a “dot”) and a long pulse (a “dash”).
“Most technology today is designed for the mass market. Unfortunately, this can mean that people with disabilities can be left behind. Developing communication tools like this is important because, for many people, it simply makes life livable,” she said.
Born with cerebral palsy, Finlayson’s experience with the Morse code communicator led her to a partnership with Google on bringing Morse code to Gboard. Working closely with the team, she helped design the keyboard layout, added Morse sequences to the auto-suggestion strip above the keyboard, and developed settings that allow people to customise the keyboard to their unique needs.
The Morse code keyboard on Gboard allows people to use Morse code (dots and dashes) to enter text, instead of the regular (QWERTY) keyboard. “Gboard for Android lets you hook external switches to the device, so a person with limited mobility could operate the device,” Finlayson added.