For most people, registering and attending an online course is a relatively simple task, but an important hurdle for the visually impaired. When this happened to a friend of the young, social entrepreneur Kristina Tsvetanova, she decided to act. And thus Blitab was born: a tablet which alters its surface to offer information like text, maps and graphs in Braille.
"This tablet, or iPad for the blind, is a consumer product whose target end users are the visually impaired," its creator explains of the innovation which led to her recognition as one of MIT Technology Review, Spanish edition's Innovators Under 35 Europe 2017. Blitab's design is based on a liquid-based technology which changes shape to transform the tablet's surface into the relevant presentation in Braille. "I still believe that everyone should have the personal drive to change the assistive market [to better serve] the disabled. We have to improve this situation," the young innovator explains.
Since founding the company, which bears the same name as the tablet, Tsvetanova's team has achieved positive results with more than 3,000 beta testers and is looking to integrate social impact in the company's business model. In addition to individual end users, the company is also negotiating with companies and governments the purchase of Blitabs for their employees. With a market price of approximately 450 euros, the revenue model also includes selling cloud-based software services designed by the company specifically for the disabled.
With a team of 10, including two blind user experience specialists, Blitab significantly improves the literacy rate amongst children through Braille educational content, the employment rate amongst adults and the experience and quality of life for visually impaired users.
Worldwide, there are more than 285 million blind and visually impaired people, a number which is expected to double in 2020, according to WHO data from 2014. But only 1% of all books published has a version in Braille, the basic, foundational educational and literacy tool for the blind.
The founder and Innovation director at Nuubo and jury member for the Innovators Under 35 Europe 2017 awards, Agustín Maciá, highlights this young designer´s strong entrepreneurial spirit, and praised her ability to successfully tackle the difficult challenge of transforming an innovative idea into a product and start-up with "great potential social impact."
By Cynthia Falcón
Translation: Teresa Woods