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Hable wins 4TU Impact Challenge with braille keyboard

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Wonderful news from our Alpha resident: Hable. She won the 4TU Impact Challenge this week with braille keyboard for smartphones.

Hable wins the third edition of the 4TU Impact Challenge. The start-up makes smartphones accessible to the blind and visually impaired, allowing them to stay connected to society.

The finals of the 4TU Impact Challenge took place on the eve of Slush 2021, Europe's largest tech event. Hable, a start-up from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) was chosen as the winner by the expert jury. The company is developing a device that allows blind and visually impaired people to control their smartphones through Braille. "This way they can still stay connected to the people around them," said Ayushman Talwar, co-founder of Hable. The jury found Hable's entrepreneurs to be special because they have very good contact with users and customers. As a result, their product connects seamlessly with the needs of their users.

In the 4TU Impact Challenge, the best students from the four Dutch technical universities compete against each other. Each university has already held its own preliminary round in the spring. From these, two student teams per university were chosen. They pitched their idea during the national event that took place this year in Helsinki during Slush Festival.

From emergency solution to start-up
The founders of Hable are highly motivated to help blind and visually impaired people across Europe with their device. Ayuahman Talwar developed the first prototype of the Hable One, as the product is called, for his blind grandfather. At the time, he never expected it to grow into a full-fledged startup, he previously told Innovation Origins. The Hable One is a loose device that is linked to the smartphone. It allows the blind and visually impaired to type and navigate their phones. The six keys allow them to type all letters, numbers and punctuation based on Braille. The smartphone itself can simply remain in the bag or pocket while making calls or sending apps.

Promising innovations
Over the next few days, the eight finalists of the 4TU Impact Challenge will still be in Finland. They will interact with other entrepreneurs and potential investors during Slush to take their fledgling companies further. "We are really looking forward to that," said Freek van Welsenis of Hable after receiving the trophy.

All of the finalists are working on diverse but all promising innovations, from deep-tech to useful online tools. For example, Coapath is working on a new test to quickly and affordably test crops, such as potatoes, for viruses and parasites. While Beesense wants to use the strong sense of smell of bees to recognize viruses such as COVID-19. Mouscle, on the other hand, focuses on hardware development. The company is working on a moving computer mouse to ensure that people do not keep their hand in the same position all day. In this way, many muscle complaints can be prevented. Sourcer, on the other hand, is working on software. This start-up is trying to combat disinformation with an online tool. The tool helps people search for reliable and complete information.

4TU collaboration
The four technical universities in the Netherlands are working together in the 4TU.Federation, of which the 4TU Impact Challenge is a part. They are joining forces to make the best use of knowledge and creativity in the technology sector. They do this in the areas of education, research and knowledge valorization. The Impact Challenge is an example in the category of knowledge valorization. The students bring the knowledge gained back to society in the form of start-ups and student teams. Their products and services contribute to a more sustainable future.