London manufacturer OwnFone introduces first Braille phone
19 May 2014
A London-based company has introduced the world's first Braille phone, costing just £60.
According to OwnFone Ltd, the manufacturers of the device, the phone has been designed to provide an instant connection between the visually impaired and their friends and family.
The front and back of the phone, which is currently only available in the UK, is built using 3D printing techniques and can be customised. OwnFone Ltd is offering the phone in a variety of different colours.
The BBC reported that the company can even print raised text on the keypad for those who cannot read Braille, making it the first phone to have a 3D printed keypad.
According to Tom Sunderland, the inventor, 3D printing on the front and back of the device helped to keep the costs down to £60.
The report quoted Sunderland as saying, the phone can be personalised with two or four Braille buttons, pre-programmed to call friends, family, carers or the emergency services. He added, the 3D phone printing process was patent-pending.
The idea, however, is not new, though it is the first Braille phone available in the market.
A Braille-enabled smartphone, featuring a repressible Braille display and feedback controls was developed by India-based start-up Kriyate. The display and controls vibrated or beeped after receiving certain commands.