Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS -

GOOGLE IS HELP­ING PEO­PLE learn how to type in Morse code. The search gi­ant has rolled out Morse code on Gboard for iOS and is mak­ing im­prove­ments to Morse code on Gboard for Android as well. For this, ear­lier this year, Google had part­nered with developer Ta­nia Fin­layson, an expert in Morse code as­sis­tive tech­nol­ogy, to make the code more ac­ces­si­ble.

Dating back to 1800s, Morse code is a com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem where words can be spelt out and com­mu­ni­cated us­ing dots ‘.’ and dashes ‘-‘. For in­stance, the most com­mon dis­tress sig­nal rec­og­nized by in­ter­na­tion­ally is SOS, which is cre­ated us­ing three dots, three dashes, and three dots.

This isn’t just meant for peo­ple who know how to use Morse code. Google has also cre­ated a game on Android, iOS and desk­top that can help users learn how to type in the code in less than an hour.

Ta­nia Fin­layson is a Morse code & as­sis­tive tech developer and was born with cere­bral palsy. In a blog post, he ex­plains, “My ex­pe­ri­ence with the Morse code com­mu­ni­ca­tor led me to a part­ner­ship with Google on bring­ing Morse code to Gboard. Work­ing closely with the team, I 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 will al­low us­ing 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 fur­ther adds, “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. Now, if any­one wants to try Morse code, they can use the phone in their pocket. Just by down­load­ing an app, any­one any­where can try com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Morse code

Google has also cre­ated a game on Android, iOS and desk­top that can help users learn how to type in Morse code in less than an hour.

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