Mecanog for users who require screen reader

The program is designed for users who require screen reader.  Victor Maheux from Fundació Manuel Caragol ( and Ricardo Abad from Organización Nacional de Ciegos de España (ONCE) have collaborated with us in this project.





It allows the typing learning for people who require a screen reader, for this, it has a different operating and contains different specific files:

Characters diction: It controls how the selected voice will say each lonely character during the exercise realization, of interest overalls when a voice that should be used doesn't correspond to the user's language.

Keys diction: It controls how the selected voice will say some keys during the exercise realization. For example: "Tabulator" referred to "Tab".

Words (or sentences) to speak: It contains how the selected voice will say some sentences or specific words (for that reason you cannot add or delete any) during the exercise realization. For example: "thumb", "but you must write". it has been included conceiving in the mind the users that want to use the program and this has not still been translated to their language.

Letters that force to spell the word: Of interest for people that have orthographic doubts, it contains the lists of the problematic letters to include (and to exclude of those included).

Words that require to spell them: It can be of interest when an exercise obtained by copying from the clipboard is executed, and it has words that indicate numbers (to distinguish, for example, '10' of 'ten') or, more rarely, words that are pronounced equally, or almost equally, but that they are written different.

Braille keyboard or its emulation

For the operation with the keyboard Braille, in this version, it is not admitted that a cell returned more than one character.

For the emulation, the central keys of the computer keyboard are used (keys FDS and JKL for 6 points in the Latin keyboard), of the Braille keyboard of 8 (or 7) and 6 dots. For this, it is necessary that the keyboard has the enough quality to detect until 8 keys pressed simultaneously.

Information has been obtained from the Wikipedia, scripts for the blind and Grafia Braille para a língua portuguêsa. Since the obtained information is not complete then some of the keyboards are incomplete or can contain errors.

Equally to the computer keyboard modality, it allows the learning and writing.

8-dot cells

Each Braille keyboard consists of a character file, where each record is identified by the dot content of the cell Braille. Each record contains a character; if it is a control character, it will be identified by the standard abbreviation used by the control characters. In this last case another file contains the character number, abbreviation that identifies it and optional translation.

It has two editors:

For the keyboard: with the habitual table commands, indication system of the dots (and record search according to the dots) with mouse or not (for people who require screen reader).

For the translation of the control characters.

6-dot cells

Each Braille keyboard consists of two character file:

That of those the characters, where each record is identified by the dot content of two cells Braille. Each record can contain from 1 to 8 different couples of character (or characters, up to 4) and a condition (or conditions, from 0 at 2).

That of the conditions that will determine of among the couples of the previous file, the character (or characters) chosen. For example a habitual condition is the one that indicates that the following characters will be a cipher. Each record is identified by the dot content of two Braille cells. It allows to indicate the extension of the condition: if it will only be to the following character, to a certain group of characters (for example the characters of the numbers), to the whole word or everytime (until the opposite is not indicated, for example the condition that indicates that the text that continues will be with Latin letters in the Japanese katakana keyboard). The transcription is allowed that will be said of the condition, as well as to define conditions of deactivation of other conditions. Conditions that include more than two Braille cells are not allowed.

There is a group of default conditions that it is not necessary to declare in the previous file, like those that indicate that the characters are letters that constitute a whole word, those that indicate for the same record that the designated character is previous or later to other (for example, often in the case of the open and closed parenthesis), those that indicate that occupy the principle or the end of the word.

It has two editors:

For the keyboard files: with the habitual table commands, indication system of the dots (and record search according to the dots) with mouse or by form, record search according to character, and wide verification of the content.

For the list that connects these keyboards with the language.

For the two keyboards

It has a series editor. The series are the sequences list of raised dots in the Braille cells to choose, that establish the characters in the exercises with random words.


It allows to carry out exercises of words created aleatorily with chosen characters or from pasted text from the clipboard. Contrary to the computer keyboard modality, it has not preset exercises, but it allows to create them from the pasted text from the clipboard.

With the random words it is allowed to choose the series to include, as well as the number and length of the words.

With the pasted text from the clipboard, equally to the other modality, the necessary confirmations are made (with elimination or replacement of characters).


To function in this modality it is necessary to have previously loaded one (or several) voice/s for the voice system  synthesizer SAPI (version 4 or 5, the subversion 5.1 is required for this last version). For version 4 you can download the voices Lernout & Hauspie of Text-To-Speech (TTS) from different webs, for example, or in different languages, free of charge for some languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Danish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese and Korean. The corresponding libraries are automatically installed in the folder c:\Windows\Lhsp\.


Without carrying out any specific exercise, and typing into the main input, the program indicates, through the voice system, which key is being typed and with which finger should be used to type it.  This includes function keys, home, end, arrows, etc. Some of the keys: intro, tabulator, uppercase, space bar and Alt-Gr, have a sound associated to them.  In this way, when one needs to write, for example: "capital A", in order to abbreviate the time in which the program indicates which keys must be typed: you first hear the brief sound corresponding to the uppercase key, followed by pronounciation of the letter "a" over the voice system. All of these sounds can be changed optionally.

The diction of the keys: home, end, arrows, intro, tabulator, etc. are saved by the program in a list which the user can modify, as also applies to the diction of some words or certain phrases, which are saved to another file.

For the exercises, which you can choose according to your preferences, random combinations of letters (which in themselves do not form meaningful words) are habitually used.  In this case the program pronounces each letter that you are required to write, in turn. In the exercises obtained by copying from the clipboard, which therefore contain meaningful text made up of real words), the program causes each word to be pronounced in turn (except where there can be confusion).  When you have just written each word, you will hear the sound that corresponds to the separation between two words, usually that of the spacebar, but it can be that of the tabulator or intro keys, in accordance with the text and the chosen options. 

During the execution of the exercise, when a mistake is made, you will always hear the error sound, the program pronounces the erroneous key you  have typed, and reminds you which is the correct key to type. 

Specific operating for normal keyboard

On subsequent occasions, it pronounces the key you have pressed and indicates how the required character should be obtained. In this way, in the case of a character that is obtained by pressing a single key: the program indicates with which finger from which hand you should press it, and the row where the key is situated, always bearing in mind the position of the fingers at rest.  For example, if you had to press the letter "f" that is in the position without lateral displacement of the left index finger, the program will pronounce "left index, line 3". If the key you had to press was "g" the program will pronounce: "left index, displacement 1, line 3". If the character should be obtained by a simultaneous combination, for example to obtain capital "O", you will first hear the sound of the shift key followed by instructions to locate the key for the letter "o". When two non simultaneous pulsations are needed to obtain the required character (as for example with the accentuated characters of the Spanish keyboard), the program will indicate how to effect the first pulsation, followed by pronouncing the words "and after" and finally it will indicate how to effect the second pulsation.

Specific operating on Braille keyboard or its emulation

In the following times is said the key that you have pulsed and it is indicated how you should obtain the character. It will be indicated this way the "dots" that it is necessary to press; for example if you would input "d" is given the message:"You must press 1, 4, 5" (or with the short diction: "with 1, 4, 5"). If you would input a number and have not input the numeric indicator previously, is given the message: "Before you must press Numeric with 3, 4, 5, 6" (or with the short diction: "Before Numeric with 3, 4, 5, 6").

Its emulation

If you press a key that should not be used then it is given the message "Invalid key pressed, return to relocate your fingers", and in the writing mode if you press a keys combination that doesn't have assigned a character then it is given the message "This dots combination is not found".

In the special case of the 8-dots Braille keyboard, when a control character appears, the explanation of the control is said. For example: for SOH: "Start of Header" is said.

Language without voice

One of the problems is that there are not many available "synthesized voices" for the number of existing languages.  This means that when a synthesized voice doesn't exist for a given language, the voice of another language is used. For example, since there is no voice for the Catalan language: the Spanish voice is used as a voice substitute. To adjust the diction from the substitute voice to the voice required, it can be defined for the characters that one thinks necessary, a diction modified for the substitute language.  In this way you can indicate, by writing in the first mentioned list, that the program referring to the letter "w" says "doble ve" instead of "uve". This adjustment of diction becomes extensive to the denomination of the space bar, shift, etc keys, and the denomination of some words or sentences.  For example, when the program says "mig esquerra", referring to the middle finger of the left hand, it sounds as "mic esquerra".  Then Mecanog allows you to modify it and makes the synthesizer of the Spanish voice at least say "mich" instead of "mic."