AHMEDABAD: The world's first smartphone for blind people is here. Soon, they will be able to read SMSes and emails on this phone, which converts all text into Braille patterns.
"We have created the world's first Braille smartphone," says its innovator, Sumit Dagar, whose company is being incubated at the Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship, located in IIM Ahmedabad campus. "This product is based on an innovative 'touch screen' which is capable of elevating and depressing the contents it receives to transform them into 'touchable' patterns," he says.
Dagar, who is a post-graduate from the National Institute of Design (NID), says he was motivated to develop the device when he realised that so far, technology was only serving the mainstream and ignoring the marginalised. He is collaborating with IIT Delhi on making the prototype, which is currently being tested at L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad.
"The response during the test has been immense. It comes out as a companion more than a phone to the user. We plan to do more advanced versions of the phone in the future," Dagar adds.
Dagar started the project three years ago while studying interaction designing at NID. After working with a couple of companies, he gave up his job to concentrate on his technology, formed a team of six people and started his venture, Kriyate Design Solutions. Currently, the venture is being funded by Rolex Awards under its Young Laureates Programme, in which they select five people from across the world every two years and fund their projects.
How it works
Â· The smartphone uses Shape Memory Alloy technology, based on the concept that metals remember their original shapes, i.e. expand and contract to its original shape after use.
Â· The phone's 'screen' has a grid of pins, which move up and down as per requirement. The grid has a Braille display, where pins come up to represent a character or letter.
Â· This screen will be capable of elevating and depressing the contents to form patterns in Braille.
Â· All other elements are like any other smartphone.
Dagar, an interaction design graduate of the National Institute of Design (NID), came up with the idea for the phone three years ago. He's collaborating with IIT Delhi on the prototype, which is being tested at the LV Prasad Eye Institute. The team hopes to release the phone by the end of 2013, for a about $185.