Moldable Alloy Will Make Braille Smartphone A Reality

Moldable Alloy Will Make Braille Smartphone A Reality

New interface on prototype can help the blind text plus use everyday tools like maps.

Ryan Gerhardt
  • 29 april 2013

Some objectives that come to mind when discussing the purpose of technology are making life easier, making information more accessible, and making society more inclusive.

Presenting the world’s first Braille smartphone: Designed by Sumit Dagar, a 2011 TED Fellow and a graduate of the National Institute of Design in India, the new touch screen smartphone is being created specifically for people who are visually impaired. Yet unnamed, the phone is the culmination of three years of work by Dagar and his team, which is currently collaborating with IIT Delhi on a prototype.

The ‘Braille smartphone’ works with the assistance of shape-memory alloy technology. Shape-memory alloy is a metal that can return to its original shape after being deformed, which allows it to expand and contract to form bumps and ridges. The screen for the phone will be made with a grid of pins that can move up and down, manipulating the alloy, creating shapes and Braille characters – returning to its original state when done.


While current voice recognition operations like Siri offer considerable assistance for visually and otherwise impaired users, this new smartphone goes above and beyond. Users will be able to not only send and receive text messages with a changing Braille keypad, but also check everyday tools like maps. Most remarkably, the phone will be designed to scan other objects, including text and photos, and then convert those scans into readable Braille or other recognizable shapes.

Currently being tested at the LV Prasad Eye Institute, the phone is expected to be released by the end of 2013 (thanks in part to a grant from the Rolex Awards for Enterprise, which sped up the process). The phone is expected to cost roughly $185.

You can check out Dagar’s TED Talk on the topic below.

Sumit Dagar


Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Brand Development Today

Swipe Left On A Dating World Built To Keep You Single And Disconnected

Hinge's VP of Marketing Karen Fein tells us about the service's daring ditch of the swiping culture that's designed to attract advertising revenue, not meaningful connections

Arts & Culture Today

Marvel Comic Tells The Story Of A Heroic Syrian Mother

Madaya Mom is the true tale of a family trapped inside a town for over a year


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Retail Today

Brooklyn Cafe Lets Customers Pay By The Hour, Not By The Cup

Glasshour is an establishment that provides free coffee and pastries and charges for the time guests spend there

Technology Today

Electric Spoon Changes The Way Food Tastes

The Taste Buddy is being developed to manipulate your taste buds and make everything more delicious

Related Expert

Anirudh Sharma

Interactive Interfaces, Wearable Tech

Travel Today

Bike Path In Poland Can Glow For 20 Years Using Solar Power

Cyclists can follow the shimmering blue lanes for better safety each time they ride

Technology Today

Open-Source Toolkit Lets Communities Build Their Own Street Furniture

The Wikiblock database contains 30 blueprints of different neighborhood fixtures including benches, bus stops, and kiosks

Food Today

Tiny Pub Only Has Space For Three People

Make Time For It is a small London pop-up bar that encourages conversation without the distraction of technology


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 20, 2016

Wearable Tech Expert: Designing Technology To Empower Connection To Ourselves

Billie Whitehouse, Founder of Wearable Experiments, shares her new vision for the quantified self

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Work Today

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

Advertising Today

This Beer Was Brewed Just For Scotch Drinkers

Highland Park Scotch Whisky & Sixpoint Brewery have teamed up to create two limited-edition pairings for New York City boilermakers

Mobile Today

Let An AI Librarian Help Sort Your Digital Bookmarks

A new app uses machine learning to help organize your virtual life

Mobile Today

Pizza Hut Tattoo Lets You Place An Order From Your Body

The latest gimmick from the fast-food chain is a tattoo-like sticker that lets customers get delivery with a simple tap on their arm

Travel Today

Reinvented Bicycle Inspired By Supercar Design

The yellow bike based on a Lamborghini has sharp edges and an aluminum alloy frame

Health Today

Health Platform Gives Perspective On Your Weekly Habits

Gyroscope is a new wellness app that works by amalgamating data about your life into beautifully designed visuals

Beauty Today

Korean Beauty Brand Uses VR To Let Customers Pick Their Ingredients

Innisfree created a unique experience for its Shanghai Disneyland customers with a virtual reality trip to select what goes into their purchase

Arts & Culture Today

3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled

No search results found.