// Alibaba’s Smart Touch is a silicon strip produced for less than a dollar
// Uses sensory-enabled brail buttons to help the visually impaired to navigate ecommcerce sites
// Smart Touch is due to be rolled out in early 2019
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Alibaba has created new smartphone technology that allows the blind and visually-impaired to shop online.
The ecommerce giant is planning to launch its new Smart Touch technology in early 2019, which offers a super-cheap alternative to current solutions.
Smart Touch is a small strip of silicon that costs less than a dollar to produce, which a user places on each side of their smartphone screen.
Each strip contains three sensory-enabled brail buttons, which trigger certain frequently-used commands like “confirm” or “go back” when pressed.
This allows the visually-impaired to navigate complex websites like ecommerce platforms by removing the risk of mis-clicking and the need for more complex interactions.
It will be used in conjunction with audio description technology, including an “ear touch” feature which is part of the Smart Touch system.
Ear touch senses when a user is holding their phone up to their ear and routes the sound output to the earpiece speaker, allowing users to listen to text clearly in public.
Depending on which app they are using, the buttons can lead to different destinations.