Smart phones are immensely powerful devices, giving us access to the internet and provding us with tools that can improve our lives, all at the touch of a finger. However, these devices rely heavily on the ability to find and manipulate images under glass as a means of interaction, leaving those with visual impairments with limited access to all that smart phones have to offer.
Vibraille is an early exploration into the possibilities of adding haptic feedback back into the mobile experience. It is a mobile application that translates letters from text messages into their corresponding braille patterns which, in turn, are translated into vibrations using the mobile phone's built in vibration motor.
For each letter, users scan the 2 by 3 grid on screen with their finger, triggering vibration whenever they scroll over a cell that contains a braille bump. This gives them a quick mental image of the pattern and thus the current character in the text. Double tapping the bottom of the screen advances to the next character and produces a sustained buzz to indicate the change has occured. Using this kind of haptic feedback would allow those with visual impairments an alternative to a speech only interface with mobile phones.
Download at the Google Play Store