For many people, smartphones are an indispensable part of their lives: Email, games, music, a camera–all instantly accessible wherever you go. But not everyone can fully enjoy the benefits of a smartphone. For the visually impaired, a lot of the convenience of a smartphone is lost. That’s where a new concept smartphone comes in: DrawBraille is a smartphone concept that’s tailored for the visually impaired.
The left side of the DrawBraille phone is the display; it has a series of mechanical dots in groups of six that can display Braille characters for you to read. There are five rows, each containing seven groups of six dots. For messages that cannot be conveyed in that space, there are page up and down buttons to the left of the display area for scrolling.
The right side of the phone is the input area and contains twenty touch-sensitive squares arranged in five rows of four. The middle six squares represent the six possible dots that form a Braille character. You enter each character by touching the correct squares, sliding your finger from one to the next either within the six squares that represent the Braille character, or if the dots are not connected, by using the outside squares. Lifting your finger completes the character, allowing you to move onto the next.
Five dots along the side of the device signal battery life, with each dot representing 20 percent of the battery’s charge capacity. In addition to making calls, you can use the phone for email, music, and book reading. In this concept, the input area would come programmed with a variety of commands that would let you navigate a series of menu options.
Voice command functions certainly allow the visually impaired to make use of current smartphones, but DrawBraille has the potential to increase functionality and ease-of-use, customizing the experience. It would be interesting to see the types of apps that could be developed for such a phone, further enhancing its functionality and perhaps given it a few advantages over current smartphones.