Armed with a braille touchscreen that uses shape memory alloy technology, an India-based startup led by engineer Sumit Dagar et. al., innovated the first smartphone for the visually challenged. Dagar's design was backed by the Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
"We have created the world's first braille smartphone," Dagar said. "This product is based on an innovative 'touchscreen' which is capable of elevating and depressing the contents it receives to transform them into 'touchable' patterns," he continued.
Response to the braille smartphone during its testing phase was noted to be 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 noted.
The phone was conceived by Dagar during his studies at India's National Institute of Design. He quit his day job, reached out to a few companies, and teamed up with six other engineers and designers to create Kriyate Design Solutions, the startup behind the phone. Despite reaching out to local venture capitalists, it was Rolex' Young Laureates Program that earned Kriyate the funding necessary for the project to materialize.