Microsoft, Apple work together on USB HID standard for Braille displays

Laurent Giret

Since Satya Nadella became CEO of Microsoft, we’ve seen a real culture change to make the company more collaborative and inclusive. This cultural shift can also be seen on the company’s offerings, with Microsoft pushing for more accessible products, such as the new Xbox Adaptative Controller for gamers with disabilities.

Today, the company announced that it has teamed up with Apple and other organizations to create a new USB HID standard for Braille displays. The new standard will make the technology more accessible for the visually impaired, and guarantee that Braille displays are fully compatible with different devices and operating systems.

“The result of HID standardization will improve braille display implementation, decrease costs and time to market, and ultimately empower people who are blind and have low vision,” explained Jeff Petty, Windows Accessibility Program Manager Lead at Microsoft. “This will simplify development, removing the need for braille devices to have custom software and drivers created for a particular operating system or screen reader.”

The new USB HID standard has already received broad industry support, including from assistive technologies companies such as Help Tech GmbH, Bristol Braille and HumanWare. Microsoft except the new standard to be supported starting next year.