Technology has allowed people to connect with one another effortlessly, and in addition, technology has also helped those cross boundaries of differences, whether it be a difference in social standing, race, or ability. India has created a smartphone for the blind in a testament to technology’s endless bounds.
“We have created the world’s first Braille smartphone. 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,” said its inventor, Sumit Dagar. The company is being incubated at the Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship at the IIM Ahmadabad campus. “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 started the project three years ago while studying interaction designing at the National Institute of Design (NID). He was motivated to develop the device when he realized that so far, technology was only serving the mainstream and ignoring the marginalized, such as the poor and people with disabilities. 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 Program, in which they select five people from across the world every two years and fund their projects.
Since the blind read using Braille, Dagar’s smartphone will use 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. The phone’s ‘screen’ has a grid of pins which move up and down as per requirement. The grid also has a Braille display, where pins come up to represent a character or letter. The screen on Dagar’s smartphone will be capable of elevating and depressing the contents to form patterns in Braille as well. Aside from those differences, all other elements of Dagar’s smartphone will be like any other smartphone.
Source: The Times of India