Samsung’s Braille mobile phone

by Paz

Samsung Touchpad Messenger

Samsung have been awarded a prestigious Gold Award by the Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) for their mobile handset, which features a Braille touch pad.

The mobile phone, known as the Touch Messenger, was developed by Samsung Design in China, a country which has 9 million visually impaired people. I had a look at the Samsung press release page, and they’re clearly very proud to have won 19 such awards in the last 5 years, making them the company with the highest total number of IDEA awards, but let’s have a closer look.  The Braille system was developed by Louis Braille in 1821 after Napoleon asked him to further develop an existing system to enable his soldiers to reliably read documents in the dark without opening a light and alerting the enemy to their position. 

The method of using a grid of embossed characters to represent letters wasn’t Braille’s, but the use of a simplified array of 3×2 dots was. Napoleon lost the war, but the Braille system has altered the lives of countless millions of blind people, which for me is another example of the ambivalence of technology developed for the military.

The best part of a century later, the Samsung touch pad features two 3×2 Braille characters for typing text messages, and the display of fourteen 3×2 characters at the bottom can be used to read them.

Here the letters “HI” have been typed with the touch pad and are “displayed” as impressions on the lower screen.

I’m wondering if voice-activation technology will make Braille obsolete in the same way that digital communications have effectively killed off Morse code. Another issue I see is that the circumstances of too many visually impaired people world-wide are related to poverty.

Hats off to Samsung for winning the design award; I’m looking forward to seeing the Touch Messenger go into production.

Found via PDA Live.

7 reviews or comments

Regina Lewis Says: September 20, 2006 at 9:50 am

I am interested in the availablity date of the Samsung Braille Mobil phone and the purchasing price.

Danielle Says: November 12, 2006 at 10:23 pm

I am very intrested in aquiring this phone for a customer. I work for Bell Mobility (Bell Canada) Could you send me any and all information I need thank you much.


Danielle Townsend

David Hornsby Says: September 15, 2007 at 4:30 am

Could you please tell me if the phone produces Braille? If so which grade of Braille? Does it make distinction between upper and lower case letters? How does it cope with words composed of letters and numbers such as postcodes? How does it cope with symbols that are neither letters, numbers nor punctuation marks?

s gordon Says: December 10, 2008 at 12:05 pm

could you please send me info on samsung touch messenger braille phone plz.

Gadget untuk tuna netra « Small Idea Blog Says: March 5, 2010 at 8:40 pm

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muriel Says: May 10, 2011 at 7:21 am

bonjour ma soeur est totalement aveugle alors j’aimerais savoir le prix pour lui en faire cadeaux d’un . SONT-il conçu avec un forfait ?

MA MAJEED Says: June 21, 2011 at 9:16 am



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