Smartphone for the blind

Indian creates the world's first smartphone for the blind

The world's first smartphone for the blindThe true purpose of technology is to improve the quality of life specially for the differently abled. A postgraduate from National Institute of Design (NID) has come up with a brilliant technology that can truly alter the lives of millions of blind people around the world. In a first of its kind innovation anywhere in the world, Sumit Dagar has created a smartphone for the blind.

Sumit Dagar had a secure and well paying day job, however, an idea that he had while studying at NID continued to persist, that of developing a smartphone for the largely marginalised population of visually impaired people. He contacted several companies with his proposal and a few responded positively. His conviction drove him to quit his job and launch Kriyate Design Solutions and along with a team of six other designers and engineers, he developed this unique smartphone.

More Detail after the Break....
The conceptualization, execution and brilliance 

There is only one-way in which the visually challenge can use the numerous features in a smartphone – through touch and in the language they can read, which is Braille. So, one of the main challenges that Sumit Dagar faced when he came up with this idea to make the phone touch-friendly for the blind. 

Dagar set about developing an innovative touch screen that presents elevated Braille symbols respective to the messages received or functions being performed on the phone. So, every message received by the phone is converted into touchable and “feelable” format in a language that the blind can read. 

Shape Memory Alloy technology makes the phone 'feel' friendlyDagar and his team have used Shape Memory Alloy technology to make the phone “feel” friendly. This technology works on the principle that metals remember their original shape and expand or contract accordingly. The smartphone that Dagar and his team have designed is embedded with a grid of small pins. These pins move up and down in Braille patterns according to messages received or functions used on the phone. The phone is inclusive of all functions present in a standard smartphone. 

The invention is currently undergoing further refinement in the Centre for Invention, Incubation and Entrepreneurship in IIM Ahmadabad. Dagar has teamed up with IIT Delhi to develop a prototype of his design. 

So, where did the team of young inventors arrange funding? Fortunately, for them, Rolex Awards foundation recognised the brilliance of their work and included it among the five inventions worldwide that the foundation chooses to fund once every two years. 

More than just a smartphone 

A technology such as this has tremendous potential; L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad is testing the prototype. Dagar says that results of test runs have been enormously successful and appreciated. His technology is more of a companion for the blind rather than being just a smartphone. The response has motivated the young inventor and he says that he plans to bring out much more advanced versions of the phone in the future. The phone is now ready for testing, if successful, Dagar and his company plan to begin selling the phone to the public for as little as $185. The world’s first smartphone for the blind is set to be launched by the end of 2013.

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