EINDHOVEN - A braille keyboard annex controller for a smartphone or tablet. TU/e start-up Hable launches their product from the 5th of Ocotober.
The world's first controller with which blind and visually impaired people can operate their smartphones, Hable posters his 'Hable One'. With keyboard shortcuts that allow the user to switch between apps or have an article read aloud.
Combinations with Braille buttons Over the past year and a half, a number of TU/e students have worked hard on the further development of their inventions. Initially it was intended as a Braille keyboard attached to the back of a smartphone. Via combinations with six Braille buttons, the text could be converted into a standard text via Bluetooth.
Testing with users helped Hable ('speak' in Spanish) find its way to a device that can be operated separately from the smartphone, says Freek van Welsenis of the now ten-employee company in Eindhoven. In addition to entering text, the Braille keys can also be used to control software to navigate from app to app or in apps. It uses a voice function that can be found on smartphones.
Buy immediately Fifty customers who tested the Hable One wanted to buy it straight away", says Van Welsenis. As of Monday, the controller will go on presale via the website (www.iamhable.com). During the first month, Hable offers buyers a 40% discount on the normal sales price of €229.
That is still a considerable sum of money, but according to Van Welsenis it is considerably less than what other Braille keyboards cost. You can't get below EUR 1 000 for that. These are keyboards for a computer. The Hable One has the size of an iPhone 5.
The company has the Hable One manufactured by partners, partly in Eindhoven and partly elsewhere in the Netherlands. It wants to start production later with the first thousand pieces.