betterbraille-1I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose my eye sight. Many take their eye sight for granted. So many of us have the latest and greatest Android or iPhones and use them every day. The touch screen makes the smartphone extremely convenient, but can you imagine trying to navigate the touchscreen of a smartphone if you were blind?

That’s the just the situation that Feiyue Xu observed one day observed while he was riding the bus, and what inspired him to create a case that allows blind people to use a smartphone.

Xu said: “There was a day, when I was on the bus, back  home from the office, I noticed a girl who was sitting in the front of me. I noticed her  not because she was a blind, but because she was trying to do something with her cellphone. After I sat down on the bus, she took out a cellphone, and put her headphones on. It was nothing different from us. However, she was keeping pressing and sliding her finger on the touch screen. This was my first time to see that a blind was using a cellphone. So, I kept watching her. It seemed she was never be able to make it because I noticed that her cellphone screen was always on the screen with all Apps’ icons. I don’t know which App she wants to run, but she could not pick a right one because she pressed on the wrong place but she could not know it. I was thinking to move to next to her, and give her a help. However, I did not do it as I was not sure whether or not it was the right thing to do when not many passengers on the bus next to us. So, I was thinking we should have a special cellphone for the blind. And then, I designed this special mobile device.”

betterbraille2The interactive sides of the case are designed to provide input and output feedback for the blind user. Through app integration the braille cells on the sides of the device can be tied into the apps and other functions that the person wants to do with their smart phone.

Xu wants to tackle basic smartphone functions with his device but also wants to use it to help blind users with GPS. All GPS functionality is based on a graphical interface, Xu’s device will let blind users use the braille keys on the sides of the case to render GPS instructions.

You can find out more about the Better Braille device and the Better Braille Device team here at Kickstarter.