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OwnFone Braille Phone For The Visually Impaired - Priced At £60, Begins Sale In UK

By Ankita Katdare in 'Gadgets | Software | Apps', May 18, 2014.

  1. Ankita Katdare


    Engineering Discipline:
    Computer Science
    If you know a person who is visually impaired, this is probably the best gift you can get him or her if you are living in the UK. OwnFone, a British company that rose to fame with its brilliant concept of launching the "world's first personalised mobile phone", has now more reasons to boast off. It has launched a brand new Braille Phone that features a 3D printed keypad with 2 or 4 braille buttons that are pre-programmed to call important people in case of emergency. Even those who can’t read Braille can use this phone as it can have a printed texture and raised text. How cool is that? Priced at £60, OwnFone Braille Phone has now gone on sale in the United Kingdom.

    Tom Sunderland, the founder of OwnFone has taken the 3D printing technology to another level by bringing the option of letting buyers customize their own cellphones to suit to their needs and then 3D print them. He shares that 3D printing is the cheapest method for creating 1000s of phones in different shapes, sizes and features. The company launched their first customizable handset called the "1stFone" and later introduced a phone especially for children aged 9-12.


    If you are interested in buying a Braille phone, you can go on to the OwnFone website and customize the device by choosing which names and numbers you want to get programmed onto the main screen of the phone. The OwnFone's efficient system online will promptly convert your English text into Braille. Users of the website can also add colors or images for an additional amount of £5. Once you are satisfied with your design, OwnFone will print the phone’s front and back as well as the raised braille using their stereolithography based 3D printing technology. Take a look at how the OwnFone phones are printed in their labs here -

    If you are living in India or any country other than UK, you can wait for a while because Mr. Sunderland has promised that they've planned for a Kickstarter campaign and by raising money through it they will make the phones available internationally. Another thing that might catch your attention is the arrival of several apps for the visually impaired people these days. We covered an app called BrailleTouch some time back, that can enable eye-free typing for all kinds of users.

    There are some startups around the world trying to explore the possibility of a Braille featuring smartphone. In India, Kriyate - a tech startup being mentored by IIM-Ahmedabad's Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) developed a prototype Braille-enabled smartphone that had a repressible Braille display and feedback controls that beep or vibrate after receiving certain commands. So, there are some significant results coming up in this sector

    Some might argue that voice-commands are a better technology to be embedded in the smartphones when it comes to the market of visually impaired people. But we strongly believe that OwnFone's Braille phone is a great application of the 3D printing tech. What are your thoughts on the same? Share with us in comments below.

    Source: My OwnFone
    • Like Like x 3
    #1 Ankita Katdare, May 18, 2014
    Last edited: May 18, 2014


Discussion in 'Gadgets | Software | Apps' started by Ankita Katdare, May 18, 2014.

    1. SarathKumar Chandrasekaran

      Engineering Discipline:
      Good read.
      Nowadays engineers is also trying to innovate technology that aids differently abled which is quite promising . This May be awkward but i want to Ask CEans that how many can survive if they were given a phone which has a call and text feature alone?

      Update: it just weighs 40 gram with 7mm thickness and available at 40£. Though it is for visually impaired, This fone stole my heart .
      @Anoop Mathew your take On this?
      @Ankita Katdare Is the price correct because they stated that it was 40£ in official website¿
      #2 SarathKumar Chandrasekaran, May 18, 2014
      Last edited: May 18, 2014
    2. Anoop Mathew

      Anoop Mathew Knight

      Engineering Discipline:
      Electronics & Communications
      Awesome work! Glad that engineers have starting thinking differently. Wish they come up with a feature for those without limbs to touch the phone, and actually be able to set it all from start (power On, and everything using voice or other techniques).

      P.S.: @Kaustubh Katdare: I have been online all this while on Chrome, but I'm not getting any alerts while @SarathKumar Chandrasekaran tagged me.
    3. Rajni Jain

      Rajni Jain Star

      Engineering Discipline:
      Computer Science
      Awesome !
      Finally we got a company that is investing on something they know not going to earn them millions of dollars.

      The phone has some nice features targeted for differently enabled folks, and the company know that they have limited scope, as normal folks will not take this phone for themselves. Hats Off !
      • Like Like x 1
    4. Ankita Katdare


      Engineering Discipline:
      Computer Science
      @Anoop Mathew @SarathKumar Chandrasekaran @Rajni Jain What do you guys think about the custom phones option? Did anyone of you give it a try on their website? Going forward, we can think of cellphones that suit the exact configuration, shape and size as we want.