Landing : Athabascau University

Thanks to 3D Printing, the Visually Impaired Can Have a Braille Mobile Phone

I'm astonished that a braille cellphone has taken so long to arrive. Disappointing that it is so underpowered, especially given the massive number of results Google returns on 'braille smartphone' and plentiful prototypes available. This article suggests that the investment required combined with a small potential market has so far made it unprofitable for companies to produce a smarter device with a tactile screen.  The use of 3D printing to bypass the problem of economies of scale may have a way to go before it can be used to create viable braille smartphones, but this is a promising start.


  • Eve Behr September 29, 2014 - 9:29am

    One of the saddest stories I ever heard was a blind chap who had to contend with laundromats that have gone digital. Before he could navigate by himself after a short tutorial by someone in charge. But when the machines went digital he suddenly had to have help for *everything*.

    If they're developing the technology, I can see a large market for applications like this where the amount of information needed on the panel is quite straightforward.


  • Jon Dron September 29, 2014 - 10:28am

    I understand why such things happen - it does save a lot of time and money to wilfully ignore part of the population! 

    On the bright side, the potential of 3D-printed technologies aside, slow but steady improvements in voice interfaces are helping a little, though I'm not sure I'd want to trust my laundry to the occasionally wild interpretations of Siri or Google speech recognition just yet.