For the first time, Braille phone has been released in the market by a London-based firm, OwnFone. The phone’s front and back cover is manufactured using 3D printing techniques and can be customized by user anytime. It also comes in a variety of different colors.
For the past years, there are some companies that have designed Braille phones but according to OwnFone, its device is the first of its kind to go on sale. Though the idea is not really an original.
The company also designed a phone where a print raised text is on the keypad so that those who can’t read Braille can still use it.
Braille phone is now only available in the UK with a retail price of £60 and according to Tom Sunderland, who is the inventor, that the 3D printing of the device’s front and back helped to keep the cost lower.
“3D printing… provides a fast and cost-effective way to create personalized Braille buttons,” he says.
The phone is designed to give an easy connection between blind users and their family and friends.
In 2012, OwnFone released one of the world’s first partially 3D printed phones. Then a year later, the company built 1stFone which is a credit-card size device with programmable buttons for crucial contacts.
OwnFone’s new Braille phone is modeled on these preceding two devices. The company retained the phone’s small form factor and colorful design.
Based on BBC interview to Mr. Sunderland, “The phone can be personalised with two or four Braille buttons which are pre-programmed to call friends, family, carers or the emergency services.”
“This is the first phone to have a 3D printed keypad and for people that can’t read Braille, we can print texture and raised text on the phone. Our 3D phone printing process is patent pending.”
The company provided a custom design that can be found on the company’s website for their buyers.
Though, of all the three available options, it is the most expensive at £60 while the previous model only cost £40 and £50.
Aside from this phone, there are countless number of apps available in Apple Store and Google Play that allows an easier reading experience for the visually impaired.