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Student creates Braille Tech app to make smartphones accessible to people who are deaf-blind


Madhura Mhatre, a graduate student at the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the United States is developing an app called Braille Tech to make smartphones accessible to all users.

People who are blind or have low vision are able to use smartphones through voice activation. However, reading them has not been as easy.

Mhatre is working on an app that turns letters into digital Braille on the screen. The app is used along with a glove that has color-coded sensors. This makes the user feel like he or she is reading raised Braille.

Mhatre says that Braille Tech focuses on giving the input onto the fingerprint which creates the feeling of reading through a Braille book. Her idea won first place at IUPUI’s annual JagState competition. It topped 13 other entries to claim the first prize.

Mhatre has a degree in computer engineering in India, where she first started her idea for the Braille Tech app. The glove and app prototypes were tested at the Helen Keller Institute in India.

She is doing a master's degree in human computer interaction and is putting the final touches on the app.

She said the idea just clicked in her mind as much of the focus is on people who are blind. As a result, people who are deaf-blind get neglected. There are many deaf-blind people who cannot afford Braille books and devices.

Mhatre wants feedback from the deaf-blind community before its official launch.

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