World’s first Vibrating Braille cell phone developed in Japan

Vibrating Braille_cell phone.jpgA former teacher at a school for the blind and a professor from Tsukuba University of Technology have developed a cell phone that sends out vibrations representing Braille symbols to enable people with sight and hearing difficulties to communicate. The phone, reportedly the first of its kind in the world, was created by 73-year-old former teacher Sadao Hasegawa, Tsukuba University of Technology professor Nobuyuki Sasaki and other developers. When a caller pushes numbers on the keypad corresponding to Braille symbols, two terminals attached to the receiver’s phone vibrate at a specific rate to create a message.

Japanese Braille uses six dots to represent the Japanese syllabary. Using the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8, on cell phones to represent these six dots, it’s possible to form Braille symbols. The developers are now working to make the devices that convert keypad information into vibrations smaller than their current size (16 centimeters by 10 centimeters). If vibration-based Braille is applied more widely, it may enable information to be “broadcast” to several blind people at once.