For the last three years, a team of investors and developers in India have been designing a smartphone that can turn text, apps and graphics into a shape-shifting, Braille-equipped mobile device for the blind. According to the India Times, a prototype is ready for testing.
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Developed by Sumit Dagar, a post-graduate from the National Institute of Design whose company Kriyate Design Solutions is being nurtured at the Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship in Ahmedabad, the smartphone's screen would be composed of a grid of pins that move up and down each time a text or new Web content is loaded.
While I'd like to imagine the smartphone works just like one of those novelty desk toys to form tangible images, Dagar states that Braille will be the device's primary mode of interaction.
"We have created the world's first Braille smartphone," he told the India Times. "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."
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Dagar collaborated with Indian Institute of Technology Delhi on the prototype, which is now being tested at the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad.
"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 said.
Credit: Rolex Awards/Ambroise Tézenas