World's first smartphone for blind invented in India

The handset uses Shape Memory Alloy technology in its innovative "touchscreen", where a grid of pins form shapes and Braille characters according to content it receives.
Written by Nitin Puri, Contributor

The most obvious question is how does a smartphone work for people who are blind? The answer in layman terms is its innovative "touchscreen" which converts text and pictures into Braille and raised patterns.

The smartphone uses Shape Memory Alloy technology, based on the concept that metals remember their original shape--that is, they expand and contract to its original shape after use, according to the Times of India.

The phone's screen has a grid of pins, which move up and down as per requirement, and the grid has a Braille display, where pins come up to represent a character or letter. The screen itself is capable of elevating and depressing the contents to form patterns in Braille.

braille phone
Prototype of Braille phone. (credit: sumitdagar.com)

It's interesting how as of date, no other major manufacturers have attempted to make a smartphone for the blind, or even smartphones for the challenged or disabled. Could it because there is a lack of demand, or would advertising and marketing be a strain for the companies involved? If companies such as Samsung can design, develop, and implement eye scrolling technology for their mobile devices, how come they have not attempted the Braille conversion technology themselves?

Regardless, I personally feel once the prototype, which is currently being developed in conjunction with The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), is finalized and reviewed, there will in fact be somewhat of a demand for this smartphone.

The market potential is endless, as there is no other device similar at the moment. Furthermore, by targeting this niche group of consumers who so far have been ignored, it's just another way of bridging the gap between technology and society.

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