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World first: Braille Smartphone in the works

The world first Braille smartphone, being developed by interaction designer Sumit Dagar, could launch at the end of the year.

Published onApril 25, 2013

Credit: Sumit Dagar
Credit: Sumit Dagar

Smartphones and the internet are together making the world a more equal, well informed, and overall better place to live in. With the two technologies put together, almost anyone can gather information, start a company and harness the internet to benefit them in ways that were once unimaginable. But for the visually impaired the power of a smartphone is much more difficult to enjoy.

Although smartphones currently have accessibility features like talkback to help the visually impaired, these features pale in comparison to the capability that simple books currently have in Braille.

This could change in the future, if Indian interaction designer Sumit Dagar manages to bring the power of Braille to mobile devices. With the help of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and L V Prasad Eye Institute and with funding from Rolex, Dagar wants to make the capabilities of a smartphone more accessible to the visually impaired.

[quote qtext=”Technology is giving everyone superpowers, but many blind people are not able to tap into these cool, new features, and the technology is making them even more disabled, so I decided to do something that could reach out to this population.” qperson=”Sumit Dagar” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

The concept utilizes a haptic touch screen, which elevates and depresses the screen to transform the data into touchable patterns. A CNET reports claims that it uses shape-memory alloy technology to expand and contract to its original shape after use. For a look at the features of the Braille smartphone check out Sumit Dagar’s TED 2011 speech below.

A Braille smartphone could place the power of the internet in the hands of the visually impaired and give them access to many of the features that other people are able to harness on the go. If all goes well in testing, the smartphone should be released by the end of the year and the price is reported to be just $200.

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