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The one user group most smartphones don’t cater well for is the visually impaired.

But a team in India is claiming a world’s first design for a smartphone that works in Braille.

Sumit Dagar, a post-graduate of India’s National Institute of Design, has teamed up with IIT Delhi to produce a prototype of the Braille phone that’s currently in testing with Hyderabad’s LV Prasad Eye Institute.

Details so far are sketchy but the phone uses what’s called ‘shape memory alloys’ or metals that change and remember their original shape.

According to theĀ Times of India, the phone looks like a standard smartphone, except for the screen, which uses an array of shape-memory alloy ‘pins’ that raise and lower to create Braille characters.

There are no other technical or pricing details are so far available, but you get the sense that how the metal pins actuate would need to be reasonably power-efficient if the developers hope to get decent battery life out of the phone. There’s also no word on the resolution of the ‘pins’ or how small the characters it can create.

We can’t imagine it’ll come close to matching a Galaxy S4 for resolution but if the developers can get that battery life right, it’ll be like most things and just a matter of time before resolution improvements are gained.

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