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Students design braille device in India 

young blind woman using smartphone

Students from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have developed a handy device for people who are blind or have low vision. 

The assistive device fits into the smartphone port and helps them type, learn, and read braille. It also allows people with vision disabilities to navigate the surrounding space and recognise people and objects independently. 

Four students, Sundar Raman P., Adil Mohammed K., Shivam Maheshwari, and Andrea Elizabeth Biju – got together to develop the device, reported the Hindu. 

Students improvised an existing product that allows people with vision disabilities to read PDF files on their smartphones. But it is a cumbersome exercise as the reader must carry a separate device. 

The team came up with Cube, a compact device that fits into the smartphone’s charging port or earphone jack. It has 4 refreshable braille cells (24 dots) on one side and a camera on the other. 

The camera on the device, along with the smartphone’s camera, is used to capture and process a wide field of view to provide the user navigation information through tactile braille cells about the proximity and nature of the obstacles. 

The refreshable braille cells project symbols to convey time, proximity to obstacles, etc. help in learning and typing on the Braille smartphone. 

Currently, people with vision disabilities rely on slow audio feedback to type. But Cube intends to change that, said Sundar. The device can be folded to the back of the phone using a flexible connector. 

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