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First Braille phone goes on sale in UK

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-05-2014 PTI

London: A London-based company claims to have put the world’s first Braille phone, which costs just £60, for sale in the UK.

The phone has been designed to provide an instant connection between blind users and their friends and family, its manufacturers said. The front and back of the phone, which is currently only available in the UK, is constructed using 3D printing techniques and can be customised. According to OwnFone Ltd, its braille phone, that comes in a variety of different colours, is the first of its kind to go on sale.

The company can even print raised text on the keypad for those who can not read Braille, BBC News reported.

According to the inventor of the phone Tom Sunderland, 3D printing on the front and back of the device helped to keep the costs down to £60.

“The phone can be personalised with two or four Braille buttons which are pre-programmed to call friends, family, carers or the emergency services,” Sunderland said. “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,” he added.

People who wish to buy the phone can create a custom design on the company’s website.

While this may be the first Braille phone available in the market, the idea has been explored before as well. Last year, India-based start-up Kriyate Inc developed a prototype Braille-enabled smartphone, featuring a repressible Braille display and feedback controls that beep or vibrate after receiving certain commands, the report said. PTI

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