In my previous post, I talked about Braille output on the Mac. In this post, I wanted to pass along information on a potential solution for Braille input for both iOS and Mac OS X.
Portset Systems Ltd, are an assistive technology company based in England, and have been making assistive devices for the blind and physically disabled for several years. In my “former life” as an assistive technology vendor, I was a reseller for Portset, which included the Portset Reader stand-alone reading machine.
Also, though, Portset developed the Braille KeyG and KeyG2, which are Braille input devices that were originally developed to provide Braille input for the PC and Windows. This was and is a solution that works extremely well. I still use my Braille KeyG2 for input when I am using my PC to this day.
Recently, Portset expanded the capability of the Braille KeyG products to support iOS devices and even the Mac. I have been testing and using my upgraded Braille KeyG2 to test its use with my iPad and iPhone, and on my iMac. I must say that it does a great job and definitely gives on an affordable alternative if one cannot afford the much more expensive Braille displays that offer six-key Braille input.
It may not be the perfect solution for all cases, as there are some limitations to certain functions, such as Quick Nav as it currently stands, but I am sure this is something Portset will address as time passes. Overall, though, for basic tasks, and for things like document writing and composing or responding to messages in iOS or the Mac, either version of the Braille KeyG will get the job done for you. For the Mac with the Braille KeyG2 model, there are two extra keys below the left side of the Braille keyboard that act like the VoiceOver Keys, which gives the keyboard even more functionality.
Even though this is a Youtube video link, there is certainly enough audio in this demonstration to get an idea of the use of the Braille KeyG2 with iOS.
You can click here to hear the video in its entirety.
For specific details about the BrailleKey keyboards,
Since Portset also focuses on physical disabilities with there products, I am going to add a couple of additional links.
Here is info on their USB auto charger.
And here is the actual product page for the charger.
They also have a iPad 4 switch input to Bluetooth they specially designed for a switch user to communicate with their iPads.
To contact Portset directly, you can send an email to: