Braille smartphone coming soon

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Smartphones have become some of the most widely used gadgets these days. However, they can only be fully enjoyed and used by people without any sensory impairment, leaving out people with vision and hearing issues.

Now the same technology that has enabled the blind to read and write will be making its way into handsets. If its preliminary test goes well, the phone is expected to be unveiled later this year.

Developed by Sumit Dagar, an Indian-based designer, the Braille-enabled smartphone will be the first of its kind in the world. It utilises a touch screen that transforms received images into patterns that can literally be felt.

Apart from the award money from Rolex, the prototype was developed with the help of L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

During the 2011 Ted Talk, Dagar showed the capabilities of the phone, explaining that blind people can also feel the image of an individual they are video chatting with. They can also trace the person’s facial expressions and interpret key applications such as maps and games.

Notably, the phone comes with a complex grid of tiny pins that elevate or depress depending on the images and text messages. It also utilises shape-memory alloy technology, which enables it to revert back to its original shape after it has been used.

“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,” said Dagar.

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