An Indian-based startup has created the world's first smartphone for the blind by inventing a screen that transforms into Braille characters as messages are received.
Sumit Dagar recently made the announcement about the Braille phone and how he and his team created this true smartphone for the blind. Help in its design came from the Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship and the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad campus.
"We have created the world's first Braille smartphone," Dagar said. "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.”
Dagar also said that, while this phone is revolutionary just by itself, the response during its testing phase was immense. Through studying how it worked with the blind, Dagar noted, “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.”
The phone's design process started approximately three years ago when Dagar was studying design at India’s prestigious National Institute of Design. He reached out to a few companies, quit his day job and began to focus on creating a phone for the blind. He, along with a team of six engineers and designers, worked tirelessly and created a new venture called, “Kriyate Design Solutions”. Interestingly, it was because of Rolex and their Young Laureates Program that gave Kriyate the funding he needed to complete the project.
The phone uses Shape Memory Alloy technology, which (like its namesake) are metals that remember their original shapes. Not needing a visual screen, they were able to design a phone that used floating pins in the shape of brailed characters that rise or fall as they are being messaged.