Design Impact Special
Compiled by Team IAnD
Photography: Courtesy World Wide Web
Interaction designer, Sumit Dagar prototypes the world’s first Braille Smart Phone that can empower communication with the visually impaired.
It is heartening to see products being developed equally passionately for the differently-abled as for normal folk. Information and Interface designer, Sumit Dagar, who is a post graduate from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad has since 2012 been working on developing the Braille Smart Phone for the blind.
With assistance from IIT, Delhi, Sumit and his team are working on prototyping the world’s first Braille smart phone that can receive an SMS or email in any language and convert it to blind-friendly Braille, bringing the visually impaired at par with normal goings-on.
Based on Shape Memory Alloy technology, which works on the concept that metals remember their original shapes i.e. expand and contract to its original shape after use; the haptic touch screen panel of the smart phone will be capable of elevating and depressing the contents it receives to form patterns in Braille. The phone's 'screen' has a grid of pins, with a Braille display, where pins come up to represent a character or letter or shape, enabling the user to complete all requisite tasks desired of the instrument.
Sumit’s small startup called Kriyate, is also working on developing SimplEye - an accessibility app for the smart phone. Using a minimalist approach, it employs a smart interface that cleans the clutter and shows only one relevant element at a time. Simple and touch-anywhere gestures allow users to easily use the interface without need for finding buttons; while accurate sound and vibration feedback is designed to provide control at your fingertips. The highlight is that SimplEye is not only an app, but a platform where all apps of a smartphone can be integrated; for eg., Braille Typing, GPS Navigation, Music, Browser, Mail, Dictionary, Weather etc.etc.
The motivation behind the project is to take a giant leap in designing for visually impaired users, who are still using retrofitted, inefficient and overpriced products. Once ready, the Braille smart phone and the app is sure to provide an innovative platform that will enable an altogether new dimension of communicating with the sight-impaired.