Millions of blind people in India have been left out of the smartphone revolution but designer Sumit Dagar is aiming to open the door to technology for them.
Sumit Dagar has applied his technological skills, inventiveness and passion for design to help his fellow citizens, particularly blind people – of whom India has millions – to improve their lives and to benefit from today’s technological revolution. His long-term goal is to develop an affordable Braille smartphone. He and his colleagues have developed a prototype but are seeking further funding to complete the project.
Technology is giving everyone superpowers, but many blind people are not able to tap into these cool new features, and the technology is making them even more disabled. So I decided to do something that could reach out to this population.
In the interim, he has launched a downloadable application for blind people. SimplEye enables smartphone users to make swiping and tapping gestures that imitate reading Braille. The app also gives audio feedback, reading out words created by the gestures. By 2015, 500 users had directly benefited from the release of the app in India and he is now looking to scale up the project internationally. Dagar is continuing to develop a keyboard for visually impaired people on touch phones and is also raising funds for other products, such as an eBook reader for the blind.
People estimated by the World Health Organization to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision