A Smartphone for Blind – World’s first, in India by Indian!
Smartphones have evolved by leaps and bounds and currently can be said as the technology with the most impact on the society.
It has not just combined multiple gadgets like alarm clock to radio to music player into one but has also given a source of being constantly connected. While this has proven a boon for the society at large, a particular section of society is deprived of it.
Blind people could not use smartphones. There are feature phones in the market that cater to the blind with Braille embedded in the keypad for them to dial numbers; but, there is no smartphone yet for them. Till now, there even wasn’t a technology for that.
An Indian named Sumit Dagar intends to change that…
A post-graduate from National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, Sumit Dagar has developed a prototype smartphone that can be used by the blind to read the messages and emails on their phones. In his words-
“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.”
This means that the touchscreen itself will change itself according to the text that is present on it and will convert the language of the message to Braille.
It effectively means that all the ASCII characters and their Braille equivalent will be present in the phone and will translate the characters to Braille on the fly.
This happens because of Shape Memory Alloy Technology which is based on the concept that metals remember their original shapes. After being distorted (expand or contract) they will regain the original shape. The phone’s screen will have a grid of pins that will move to elevate or depress the contents to form in Braille.
Except for the innovative screen, rest of the features will be of a regular smartphone.
The project is currently being incubated in IIT-Delhi and is funded by Rolex Awards under its Young laureates Programme. The select 5 people in 2 years to fund their project and this alone tells us the importance of the project that Sumit Dagar has ventured on.
Here is Sumit Dagar talking about his project: