A controller that helps the blind and visually impaired better use a smartphone properly.
That’s what the Eindhoven start-up, Hable, has invented. This device – the world’s first braille smartphone keyboard for blind people – appeared in shops on Monday. Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) students spent two years developing the controller, which attaches to a phone.
According to the creators, it’s difficult for the blind and visually impaired to operate a smartphone. For example, it isn’t easy to enter texts. The students think the Hable One solves these that these problems.
The first test with 40 blind and visually impaired people, has been completed. It has promising results too. Half of the test subjects eventually bought the product.
Won award too
Millions of blind and partially sighted people worldwide own a smartphone. That’s according to the start-up. Freek van Welsenis and his company, Hable, also won the Dutch final of the Global Student Entrepreneur Award 2020 (GSEA).
“With the GSEA prize, we’re taking our first steps towards the internationalisation of our company in America,” Freek says. Van Welsenis’ prize consisted of €10,000, exclusive coaching, and a spot at the international GSEA final.
GSEA is an international competition organised by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. It’s run in no fewer than 50 countries.
Not about money
The device won’t make them rich. Freek and Gijs Leemrijse are sure about that. But that wasn’t the objective.
“It’s really cool to make something that people use,” Leemrijse told Cursor. This is the TU/e newsletter. Gijs is a bachelor’s student Computer Science and Engineering and the technical man behind Hable. “That’s very special, that is why we did it.”