Start-up @FingerTips develops smartphone accessories for blind

If smart phones and tablet computers are the future, what does it mean for people who are struggling with blindness? A new start-up from the University of Michigan called @Fingertips thinks it has an answers.

The Ann Arbor-based company is creating four accessories for mobile devices that enable blind people to use touch-screen and other visual-dominated technologies. Its products will include a slide-out keyboard that attaches to an iPhone and an iPhone remote control that can attach to a piece of clothing - so users can be active without having to manipulate their phone.

"They will work with all the mainstream apps you and I use for Android and the iPhone," says PK Mishra, CEO & co-founder of @Fingertips. "We will manufacture and assemble our devices locally."

The brand-new start-up is the brainchild of two University of Michigan students, an Ann Arbor District Library employee and a local tech freelancer. It was inspired when a couple of the co-founders were volunteering with blind children at a local school.

"When these kids graduate they will be entering a world that is dominated by visual devices," Mishra says. "We thought there has to be a better solution to this."

@Fingertips recently won $26,000 in prizes at the Michigan Business Challenge at U-M's Ross School of Business. The social entrepreneurs plan to continue developing their devices and business plan with an eye for launching the first of their products this fall.

Source: PK Mishra, CEO & co-founder of @Fingertips
Writer: Jon Zemke

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