A free app to help blind people use different functions on smartphones has been launched this week, allowing tapping gestures to be translated into text.
The Simpleye app will initially be available for free for Android smartphones.
"It should be available to everyone who needs it," says the app's Indian designer
Dagar is looking into how to charge users in developed countries a small amount to recover start-up costs, although he hopes to keep the app free in the developing world where most blind or visually impaired people live.
Touching the screen using different tapping or swiping gestures work as imitations of Braille, says Dagar. The app also gives audio feedback, reading out words created by the gestures, and even points out words that do not make sense.
Dagar is now is looking to make the app multilingual so that non-English speakers can use it. He says he has a working prototype or "launcher" that has basic functionalities such as desktop tools, calling, text messaging and a calculator. More complicated aspects such as navigation and music are still being designed.
But progress on the Braille smartphone has been slowed down by lack of funds and high production costs, which currently stand at about
He hopes his smartphone will eventually work with apps such as Facebook; he plans to approach these organisations directly to achieve this.
A decision still has to be taken on whether to release a basic version of the phone with compromised functionality - without navigation for example - or to wait until the full functionality is available, says Dagar.
OwnFone's first international partner is based in
OwnFone wished good luck to Dagar's phone. "The more devices on the market to help the blind or the partially-sighted, the better," they said.
A spokesman from the
"There's got to be an intuitive user interface. The interface is almost never intuitive to a blind person," he cautioned.
You can follow the reporter on Twitter at @DalmeetS
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