Google has added support for Morse code typing to its Gboard app for iOS, providing an accessible method of digital communication for people with disabilities.
The customizable feature replaces the letters of the keyboard with large dot and dash keys to enter text, and offers text-to-Morse sequences to the auto-suggestion strip above the keyboard.
Google has also launched a Morse Typing Trainer web game that teachers users how to communicate in Morse code using Gboard.
Tania Finlayson, an assistive tech developer with cerebral palsy who works on the Gboard project, explained in a Google blog post how Morse code has helped her communicate more effectively:
“At first I thought learning Morse code would be a waste of time, but soon learned that it gave me total freedom with my words, and for the first time, I could talk with ease, without breaking my neck. School became fun, instead of exhausting. I could focus on my studies, and have real conversations with my friends for the first time. Also, I did not need an adult figure with me every moment at school, and that was awesome.”
For existing Gboard users, the Morse code feature is delivered in an update (version 1.29). Gboard is a free download for iPhone available on the App Store.