For the visually impaired, smartphones have a whole different meaning. It's tough to use a phone when you have to rely on a touchscreen (in most cases) and a keyboard that you can't actually see. While apps like Siri help out, there isn't a phone for the visually impaired that makes smartphone life easier. Yet.
A new phone that is designed specifically for the visually impaired might just be on its way. This phone doesn't rely on artificial intelligence. Instead, it relies on good old Braille. How could this possibly work? Well, a 2011 TED Fellow named Sumit Dagar might know the way.
A Screen Made From Metal
Dagar's image includes a screen that's made entirely of pins. When these pins are pushed up or down, Braille letters form. When a message is received, those pins form different shapes, and those shapes are then turned into Braille letters that are easily recognized.
No phone like this one has been attempted before. The closest that companies have come to phones for the visually impaired are apps like Siri. But, if you've ever used Siri before, you know that it's not exactly perfect. More often than not, Siri gets it wrong. When that happens, words are not conveyed, and that's frustrating for anyone to deal with.
Will A Braille Phone Sell?
The question from a business perspective is: will this type of phone actually sell? Further, how will sites and social networks be accessed using Braille? How durable would these phones be? All of this is still up for debate, and the actual prototype for the phone hasn't been developed yet.
Sumit has told press that he is actively working on making this phone a reality, and that a Braille phone could surface very soon. This is the first phone that has been created for anyone with a disability (specifically), and that makes it one of the most innovate products on the market right now.
While more phones should be geared directly towards people with disabilities, few exist. Not only is this frustrating for the general disable population, but it doesn't open up the world of disabilities to others either. Instead of making a "disability" phone, maybe manufacturers should just start making phones that cater to everyone. Then again, a Braille keyboard and cover would only benefit those who need it.
Needless to say, this is an innovative idea that deserves a lot of credit and attention. A Braille phone? Is that what's next? It sure looks that way, and plenty of visually impaired people will be thrilled when this phone comes to fruition.
What do you think about the possibility of a Braille phone? Is this something that's desperately needed? If you are or were visually impaired, would this phone help you out? Talk back and let me know what your opinions are. The world need more innovative phones that are truly unique (and serve a purpose) instead of the same old thing. Don't you think? Let me know!