A Cost-Effective 6-Key Wooden Braille Keyboard for Visually Impaired Individuals
Keywords:Computer science & engineering, braille, assistive technology, keyboard
This research study focuses on developing a low-cost 6-key wooden Braille keyboard designed for individuals with visual impairments in the Philippines. This research aimed to create a prototype using locally sourced and environmentally sustainable materials for its casing to ensure affordability. This was done as the existing braille keyboards in the market are often expensive in the Philippine economy, limiting their accessibility for those in lower income brackets. This study used experimental research as the method to procure information. It was defined as a study conducted with a scientific approach using two sets of variables. The first set was used to measure the differences of the second set. The independent variable in the study is the type of Braille keyboard used. The dependent variables will be the performance and accuracy of the keyboard when used by the participants. Additional variables to be considered in the analysis would be the ease of use, comfort, and satisfaction of participants. The six-key Braille keyboard was proven effective in outputting the intended characters. All the combinations entered correctly generated their respective characters in all the tests. Wood was tested as the keyboard structure and casing material over the usual materials used, like plastic and acrylic. Despite that, comfort and functionality were still shown. However, using wood instead of the usual materials for the keyboard structure and casing was heavier and bulkier. The developed six-key Braille keyboard was proven accurate and efficient through testing and evaluations. It was tested in a way that assessed its ability to transcribe inputs into braille characters as outputs correctly. Wood was also considered a viable alternative to the materials commonly used for making keyboards. However, it was noted that the keyboard's weight increased compared to the ones that do not use wood. It should be emphasized that the 6-key Braille keyboard prototype developed in this study is not intended to replace existing Braille keyboards available in the market. Instead, it aims to provide an affordable and accessible alternative for users who have previously encountered difficulties obtaining Braille keyboards.