ACCESSIBILITY OF SMARTPHONES
The best supporting interfaces and appliances
Hable is active in the accessibility industry. The start-up was founded by two students of the TU Eindhoven. The company’s vision is to make smartphones completely accessible for people who are blind. They are doing this by bringing a new type of product to market: the Hable One. This is a smart keyboard that creates the possibility for people with a visual impairment to fully grasp the same benefits of smartphones as anyone else.
Hable One is the first controller of its kind which is made especially for smartphones and has two major functionalities. The first one is typing on a smartphone, and the second one is to use all functionalities of the smartphone. For typing, everyone uses the braille keypad which is a more tactile form of typing on your smartphone. This helps blind users to type more efficiently, faster, and effectively. Moreover, this function enables users to text with more privacy because they don’t have to speak to their phones anymore. This makes smartphone usage not only easy, but also useful in all situations.
It was a challenge to create the navigation function. Eventually, Hable created a way to make the swiping motion on a flat screen easier to navigate. With only eight buttons, users can control their entire phone which means opening apps, closing apps, and navigating within the apps. All without having to use the flat screen of the smartphone.
The controller can either be used while standing, sitting, or walking because it doesn’t need to be placed at a surface. The device is small and fits into the user’s pocket, just like a smartphone. This means that the keyboard can be carried with you anywhere and is truly a mobility device. Lastly, using the keyboard is easy. This enables not only seniors to easily use the phone, but also children who are learning how to use Braille.
Collaboration with Pezy Group
Hable was looking for a partner who could help them bring the device to the market. This required expertise in product allotment and manufacturing of the hardware. Pezy Group had the right experience with mechanical engineering, plastics design, private allotment, and bringing products to the market. This was a good match since it was the goal to bring the device to the market as quickly as possible.
Pezy Group ensured that the molds could be produced quickly and that the quality of the plastics and of the product was good. The biggest risks in the project were selecting the right switches or mechanical switches and integrating them into the product. This was a very precise part of the project since blind people have a good tactility of the buttons.
Moreover, there was a group at Pezy Group that acquired knowledge for product certification which is one of the biggest steps in the product development cycle. Also, mechanical design is important since it brings the electronics and the casing together and had to be made sure that this was done really well.
Pezy Group handled the entire process and brought the product to the market in the quickest way possible. Pezy Group completely checked and tested the product at every step in the development process. This way, they could ensure that the product was produced with the right specifications, and they made sure that each step was carried out properly.
Lastly, the packaging was also specially designed for blind/ visually impaired people. We choose the option which was easiest to open for the end-user. With this design, we proved that they would make fewer mistakes when opening the lid and that they would also open the packaging in the right direction. Another concern about the packaging was whether it could be reused and recycled having an environmental concern in mind.
Pezy Group ensured that all risks, both financial or time-based, were identified beforehand and that relevant measures were taken.
CEO & Co-founder Hable
“The collaboration with Pezy group was a very pleasant experience. This was due to clear communication, the freedom to work on the product specifications, and testing. Moreover, project planning was clear and transparent and the engineering team was enthusiastic about working on the project.”