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May 13, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

RIM Developing Blackberry For The Blind

Waterloo based Research In Motion has filed a patent application that indicates work on a new Blackberry device for its visually impaired customers. In the new application titled “MULTI-TAP KEYBOARD USER INTERFACE”, the inventors write on a technology that will bring auditory feedback to Blackberry users while dialling a number or accessing applications like email or voice mail.

According to the invention, a multi-tap keyboard interface may be invoked by pressing a specific set of keys. Once done, users may use the different set of keys (on the left, center and right) for tapping numbers or text. Users may be alerted via audio messages on the number they have typed or be offered options like ‘Open’, ‘Delete’, etc. while surfing through the email messages.

Here is an instance of how dialling a 411 would work

To dial the number 411, operations may proceed as follows:

[0053]Press action button 318: hear `enter a number`,

[0054]Press confirm button 316: accept choice,

[0055]Press input region 312 once: input a `4`,

[0056]Press action button 318 once to skip to next position,

[0057]Press input region 308 once: input a `1`,

[0058]Press action button 318 once: skip to next position,

[0059]Press input region 308 once: input a `1`,

[0060]Press action button 318 twice: hear `dial the number`,

[0061]Press confirm button 316: accept choice.

[0062]With each input, the multi-tap user interface adapting mobile device 202 responds with auditory feedback.

[0063]When the user presses the input regions, confirm and action button inputs described above, the user hears `dial number`, `4`, `next`, `1`, `next`, `1` and `dialing number`. Other actions that may be supported at various steps in the operations described above may include `erase number`, `cancel`, `start again`, `clear entry`, `enter voice mail`, `store number` and `dial stored number` in response to presses of the action and/or confirm buttons 318, 316. If the user accidentally presses the confirm button it may be pressed again to terminate the dialing sequence. Cancel input 320 may also be used.
Blackberry For Blind

[via USPTO]

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