Modern technology, accessible to anyone
The Hable One is a smart keyboard that enables people with a visual impairment to fully grasp the benefits of smartphones.
A smart keyboard for visually impaired people
Hable was founded by two students of the Technical University of Eindhoven. The company’s vision is to work towards a world in which everybody has access to the same information. They partnered up with Pezy Group to create Hable One, their first product: a smart keyboard that can be controlled by braille and is connected to a smartphone.
The main goal of the project was to make technology attainable for everyone. Because all smart devices nowadays have a simple touch screen, visually impaired people are limited in the digital world. As a result, they require a device that allows them to easily access all of their smartphones’ functionalities via touch. Consequently, the product needed to be user-friendly and easy to understand. In order for the product to be intuitive, the design had to take the sensitivity of the user’s senses into account.
To make the technology available to everyone, the end goal was to not only develop, but also realize the product and bring it to market.
The Hable One has been nominated as one of the Hundred Dutch Best Designed Products that are not only relevant but also innovative. Check them out on the G100 site.
Collaboration with Pezy Group
Hable was looking for a partner who could help them bring the prototype to market as soon as possible. The development, which included design, mechanical and plastics engineering, and electronic integration, could be started quickly by partnering with Pezy Group and receiving in-kind investment. Also important was that Pezy Group arranged the full product certification for Hable. Pezy Group was actively involved in the whole process and was therefore also able to create unique packaging that is easy to open for people with visual impairments.
In collaboration with partners, the supply chain was set up and managed. With Pezy Group’s Pilot Factory Plastics, the smart keyboard could be locally produced and assembled in series.
The partnership between Hable and Pezy quickly led to the successful launch of the Hable One.
If you would like to read further about the collaboration between Hable and Pezy Group, be sure to read our blog via the following link.
Hable’s core, the software and interaction between the Hable One device and the smartphone was the navigation function. Eventually, Hable created a way to make the swiping motion on a flat screen easier to navigate by using the braille language with buttons.
One of the biggest risks in the project was selecting the right mechanical switches and integrating them into the product. This had to be done precisely since blind people have excellent tactility. For this reason, getting the button press right was very important, as was the sound feedback.
Deep research into product certification was required and became an important step in this product development process.
Going into production, another challenge arose: the availability of electric ICs on the stock market. Due to that, several components had to be changed during the course of the project in order to keep production on schedule.
Hable One is the first controller designed specifically for smartphones. It has two main functionalities, which include typing on a smartphone and using all other functionalities of a smartphone. The braille keypad function is more tactile than the touch screen and allows users to type effortlessly, efficiently, and effectively. Moreover, this function enables users to text with more privacy since they don’t have to speak to their phones anymore. This makes smartphone usage not only easy but also useful in all situations.