On April Fools Day 2012, Google announced a whole new way to type emails with Gmail Tap. It used Morse code as the medium to deliver messages from sender to recipient.
Who would’ve thought that 6 years, a month and a week would’ve brought this joke into something far more important for the lives of differently-abled people.
With Morse code and machine learning working together to support assistive text entry, we’ve added a new and accessible way to input communication on your @Android phone with the Morse code keyboard—now available in #Gboard beta. #io18 pic.twitter.com/P0HcTeFcyC
— Google (@Google) May 8, 2018
Early on in the Google I/O keynote, we were introduced to Tania Finlayson. A wheelchair has not stopped her from the thrills of skydiving and it didn’t stop her from finding the love of her life through it, Ken. Tania and Ken were able to craft circuitry to create a device that allows her to tap her head to the back of her wheelchair and communicate in Morse code via short and long pulses.
Such a solution that it is, it is quite proprietary to Tania’s situation. But the two of them have been collaborating with Google to deliver a Morse code mode of communication through the company’s Gboard app to allow those who might be better off with seven keys instead of the 34 keys in the default US English layout to communicate effectively and efficiently.
Users can enroll in the Gboard app beta and get this feature today.