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Smartphone For the Blind Invented In India 46

hypnosec writes "The world's first smartphone for the blind that features a display capable of converting text and pictures into Braille and raised patterns has been invented in India. Based on Shape Memory Technology – a concept whereby metals expand and contract to retain their original shape – the phone's screen has a grid of pins. These pins move up and down based on the text or display to be represented."
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Smartphone For the Blind Invented In India

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Imagine the battery life on a device that never had to light up a display all the time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1) the display is not lit all the time on a normal smartphone
      2) most "idle" power draw is from the radio emitter/receiver, keeping touch with the base station
      3) shape memory alloys draw tons of current and get burning hot...

    • You mean like electronic ink?

    • Imagine the battery life on a device that never had to light up a display all the time.

      Yes, imagine the battery life on a device that is using mechanical parts for display purposes. What used to be 6 hours battery life may now mean a 30 minutes battery life. Imagine all blind people fighting each other for the last electrical outlets at malls, conferences, and coffee shops.

      It will be very interesting to say the least.

  • If it's a grid of pens, a lot of gestures based on swiping seem slightly risky because it could end up taking off a chunk of skin under a very rare corner case.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You're just holding it wrong.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If it's a grid of pens, a lot of gestures based on swiping seem slightly risky because it could end up taking off a chunk of skin under a very rare corner case.

      1) Braille is read by running your fingers over the bumps. If there was a chance of slicing off skin from swiping over these pins, then it fails at the basic intended purpose of displaying braille in the first place.

      2) A lot of the gestures you're thinking of only make sense for the visual display on the phone. swiping a on/off switch to on only makes sense if you can make the visual connection to a switch metaphor from the graphics. This inherently doesn't work if you're blind since the metaphor is complet

    • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @06:26PM (#43520007) Journal
      These things already exist []. Make sure your websites are accessible for blind people.

      iPhone already has a good accessibility system for blind people. You can drag your finger across the phone, and it will read whatever you are touching in a computer voice. It's amazing to watch a blind person using an iphone with it.

      Android has a similar system, except it's better because it's open to third parties, and worse because it is buggy.
      • But, you say, how can I test websites for the blind since I am not blind?

        Close your eyes for a few seconds and think about it.

      • Yes, they do, and I've even tried two different models at Google I/O, but they're not the same as this thing. This Indian device promises to be a thousand times better and cooler. See pictures here [] and here [].

        Unfortunately, it seems to be a concept-only device right now. No outsider was given the actual prototype to try in real life, and no one was even shown a demo in real life. So to me, that means it's a concept-only device.

        I generally do not trust picture mockups and PR people, especially from a company

  • It appears to be nothing but CGI at this point.

    I quote: "Once the prototype of the product is ready..."

    • Yeah, and I'll bet it doesn't work as well in reality as they think it will. Anyone remember that Rainbow Versatile Disc thing?
  • by houbou ( 1097327 ) on Monday April 22, 2013 @08:17PM (#43520955) Journal
    1) There is no money in this for Apple, Samsung, Nokia and others, this is a niche phone for a minority of people.

    2) Accessible phones in the usual UI way with readers have been around for a while as well as computers.

    Problem with web content is that some authors don't make it accessible to other types of user agents (beside the usual keyboard/mouse combo) by adhering to the WWW Web Accessibility Guidelines, which is a shame for these guidelines aren't all that hard to implement and it's just a little bit more planning ahead, which in the end, makes it easier to deal with your site's content in the long run.

    What is nice about this new smartphone is that blind people can now deal with a smartphone with their own braille reading skills and thus can operate the device in silence, instead of being read the display like other smartphones with content readers.
    • There are about 39 Million completely Blind people in the World and about 30 Million Xbox Live Customers. So I guess Xbox Live is a Niche market by your way of thinking right?. =p

      What company wouldn't want to make 2 Billion extra dollars by selling these devices at $60 each?. Perspective is the name of the game.

      • by houbou ( 1097327 )
        A braille solution only caters to blind people, a solution where you have a voice reader is usable to all.
        I'm not saying people afflicted with blindness don't deserve any consideration, I'm saying from a business perspective that smartphones took the road of PCs and included software for accessibility which reads your choices and actions.
        From a business standpoint, it makes sense.
        A braille smartphone only caters to the blind, and thus it is indeed a very small niche.
        Comparing gaming consoles to braille devi
  • TFA does not say what OS this is running. Anyone knows?
    • TFA does not say what OS this is running. Anyone knows?

      I don't think it is running an OS at the moment, it has not been completed yet:

      "Once the prototype of the product is ready"

  • Why no Smartphone for the Deaf, you insensitive clods?!
    • Smartphones work fine for the deaf. It's not a hardware solution in that case. What we need is adequate software for converting speech to text or sign language. Something that doesn't require human input (ie. court reporter or interpreter). Something that is voice accent, background noise, volume and connection speed independent, 99+% accurate etc. Also needs to be developed for all major languages.
      I've always thought an AI would need to be developed for this...

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