The visually-impaired in the country may soon be able to enjoy the benefits of a smartphone like the rest of us, thanks to the efforts of interface designer Sumit Dagar and his Braille Phone Project. 

Dagar's unique smartphone prototype, converts any SMS or email sent to it, to braille. So the visually-impaired too can access emails and SMSes on the smartphone without having to resort to learning new languages and techniques. The main component which helps the blind interact with the smartphone and understand what is being shown on screen is haptic feedback.

Haptic feedback, Dagar says, is the primary medium of communication, using which the visually-impaired can feel or 'touch' the information on the screen. He adds that, using the height-mapping technology, the haptic UI-based device will be “able to project information ranging from textual (Braille), images and animations and videos.”

Sumit Dagar develops smartphone for the blind

Sumit Dagar develops smartphone for the blind

Dagar, who holds a postgraduate degree in information and interface design from the National Institute of Design (NID), is currently working on building the prototype of this unique smartphone, according to his website. Dagar is no stranger to accolades, as he was honoured with the 'Pride of NID' at his alma mater and late last year, Rolex honoured him with its Young Laureate award.

On his website (, Dagar also shows visitors a demo video of his product in development. The video, dated 2011 is from TED Fellows – “…I found myself frequently jumping corporate jobs and enterpreneurship efforts, mid-way through which I became a TED Fellow,” Dagar says.

The motivation behind the project is to take a giant leap in designing for visually-impaired users who are still using retrofitted, inefficient and overpriced products. This device will provide an innovative platform that will enable an altogether new dimension of communicating with the users,” reads the description about the special smartphone.

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