Apple Backs New USB Standard for Using Braille Displays Across Ecosystems

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 31, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Apple has voiced support for a new Human Interface Device standard that will bring versatile support and overall improve the technology of future USB-connected Braille displays [PDF].

    [​IMG]

    Set forth by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), a non-profit organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, the new standard will help make it easier for blind and low-vision users to use Braille displays "across operating systems" and with "different types of hardware." This way, users won't be locked into one ecosystem and can more easily go about reading and interacting with their devices no matter the manufacturer.

    Additionally, the standard is set to simplify the development process by removing the need for Braille devices to have custom software and drivers created for a particular operating system or screen reader. According to Apple's director of global accessibility policy and initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, the company is "proud" to help advance the new USB-IF standard.
    A few other executives from other companies chimed in on the news as well, including Microsoft accessibility program manager Jeff Petty, who said, "Developing a HID standard for braille displays is one example of how we can work together, across the industry, to advance technology in a way that benefits society and ultimately improve the unemployment rate for people with disabilities."

    Helen Keller Services president and CEO Joseph Bruno applauded the USB-IF and its members like Apple, Intel, HP, Microsoft, and others, pointing out that the new standard will greatly reduce the friction that visually impaired, blind, or deaf-blind users can face when navigating between accessible devices. "It allows these individuals to more seamlessly connect to their favorite devices, which is a major step in helping them connect to the world around them."

    Since the standard has just been detailed, no physical USB hardware products have yet to be shown off from any company. Currently, Apple has an entire accessibility store on Apple.com so users with disabilities can use devices crafted just for them to create music in GarageBand, navigate a Mac with a custom trackball, and more. There are no Braille-enabled devices sold by Apple yet, however, so the incoming HID standard could mark the first time that such a device is sold on Apple.com and potentially in retail locations.

    Article Link: Apple Backs New USB Standard for Using Braille Displays Across Ecosystems
     
  2. Carlanga macrumors 604

    Carlanga

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    #2
    nice support! As more analog things become screens we need to bridge the gap for those that can't see.
     
  3. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended

    OldSchoolMacGuy

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    #3
    My cousin has Stargardt’s disease which will eventually take her forward eyesight (she'll retain some of her peripheral vision but it's fuzzy). It's great to see the tech giants come together to continue to push accessibility for everyone.
     
  4. Pow! macrumors member

    Pow!

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    The almost-flat keyboards on the current MacBooks are training us to accept a keyboard that uses pop-up braille technology, in other words the bottom half of the laptop is a flexible material which can be configured to show different buttons, and the buttons themselves can be reshaped, resized and moved. This pop-up technology is inspired by Braille but can be used for much more.
    That’s what the WWDC posters make me think is coming. Still not sold on a “modular” setup for the Mac Pro but it’ll likely be a similar design to the new Mac Mini and the Mini will offer some of the same modularity, as well as sharing the Pro design on a smaller scale.
    Fun times!
     
  5. guzhogi macrumors 68030

    guzhogi

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    #5
    Reminds me of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Year of Hell" where all the interfaces are screens, but a recently blinded Tuvok has the computer adjust his console for tactile mode.
     
  6. Pow! macrumors member

    Pow!

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    #6
    Exactly.
     
  7. araadt macrumors newbie

    araadt

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    #7
    As a graphic designer—and one with diminished (and deteriorating) visual acuity—I wish more in my field would work with accessibility as a consideration. These sort of developments are heartening.
     
  8. Cloudkicker macrumors 6502

    Cloudkicker

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    #8
    Shall I guess it includes every manufacturer switching to the Lightning connector & pay the license fee for the sake of university?
     
  9. TomaxXamot macrumors regular

    TomaxXamot

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    #9
    This is great. One of the things I love about Apple is their commitment to accessibility.
     
  10. cmwade77 macrumors 65816

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    #10
    No, they actually state USB standards, I really do think Apple needs to abandon the lightning connector completely and just use USB-C like everyone else is starting to do.
     
  11. BigMac? macrumors member

    BigMac?

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    Glad to see this is getting standardized.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 2, 2018 ---
    Absolutely
     

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10 May 31, 2018