A decision by a group of tech giants could be a major step forward in accessibility by increasing the compatibility of braille displays with computers
and other devices.
The goal is to make using Braille displays a simple plug-and-play process
The USB Implementers Forum — a group that includes major tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google — has announced a new USB HID (Human Interface
Device) standard for Braille displays. That may not sound like much, but it’s a big move forward to make computers more accessible to people who are blind
or have impaired vision by making it much easier to use Braille displays across different operating systems and devices without having to worry about unique
software or drivers for each device.
Ultimately, it means that soon, users will be able to simply use Braille readers as plug-and-play devices across a wide hardware ecosystem, much in the
same way that users are able to simply plug in a USB mouse or keyboard. The standard seeks to make this process function similarly across operation systems,
whether it’s a PC, Mac, or Android device.
With the finalized standard, device manufacturers and operating system providers will have to make new hardware and software updates to support it, which
should start happening as early as 2019.
Paul Mugambi is a senior policy consultant and commentator on social public discoes.