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Google Maps for the Blind

Don't let the sleek, minimalist look fool you; this isn't a fancy new Braille smartphone. This pocket-sized concept gadget has one singular purpose: to bring Google Maps into the hands of the visually impaired.

The plan.B takes satellite-imagery of the user's location, just like any other GPS. What sets it apart are the numerous little bumps along the surface. These contact points can be raised or retracted, giving a tactile representation of the surrounding locale. It also has audio out port, so you can tune in to additional audio guidance.

The whole thing folds up clamshell-style for easy storage, with a faux-wood exterior finish. It's quite a fashionable solution for getting about, and let's face it, if you need a GPS device even with a good pair of working eyes, then more so the guy who has to make do with a walking stick. Let's just hope you can't install Angry Birds on the plan.B, otherwise a lot of blind people will be too busy to go anywhere.

[source: Oriko Design Bureau]