Google today announced that it is bringing Morse code as an input method to Gboard for iOS. The company first integrated Morse code into the Android version of Gboard (in beta form) shortly after its I/O 2018 keynote. Alongside the debut on iOS, Google says it has made numerous improvements to the Android experience, too.
When activated, Morse code fills the keyboard area with two large dot and dash icons. As you tap the icons, word suggestions will appear at the top of the on-screen keyboard just as they do when you’re using the QWERTY version. Google has created a Morse Typing Trainer game that it says can teach users Morse code in under an hour. You can play it on both mobile and desktop.
Tania Finlayson, an assistive tech developer who collaborated with Google on the Morse code project, wrote a blog post about how the communication system has been “revolutionary” in improving her own life:
Most technology today is designed for the mass market. Unfortunately, this can mean that people with disabilities can be left behind. Developing communication tools like this is important, because for many people, it simply makes life livable. Now, if anyone wants to try Morse code, they can use the phone in their pocket. Just by downloading an app, anyone anywhere can give communicating with Morse code a try.
Finlayson notes that Gboard for Android “lets you hook external switches to the device, so a person with limited mobility could operate the device.”