Telling Time Blind

Dot: The newest smartwatch that can make the blind see!

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© 2017 HUH Magazine UK

A Braille smartwatch for the visually impaired. This start-up developed this smartwatch as a low-cost educational and communication tool for the blind. 

Smartwatches have been here for a while, but it hasn't been since the releases of Apple’s Watch that they finally became a household item. With its tiny screen and functionality, people are loving the wearable trend.

However, a few, if not less, have been made for those that have problems using this kind of technology, especially those who are visually impaired. Braille, a writing system which is their way of accessing information, is rarely found in the available technology that we have today.

Take a look at this quick stat: only 1% of books get translated into Braille, and the cost to actually read these Braille-translated texts would cost around $2000 (or more). This is why 95% of the 285 million visually challenged people give up on learning Braille and end up being illiterate.

Only 1% of books get translated into Braille, and the cost to actually read these Braille-translated texts would cost around $2000 (or more). This is why 95% of the 285 million visually challenged people give up on learning Braille and end up being illiterate.

So a team, started by two colleagues, of hardware and software tech specialists in South Korea started up Dot: A Braille smartwatch for the visually impaired. This start-up developed this smartwatch as a low-cost educational and communication tool for the blind. With its haptic technology, it can provide real time information and feedback to users through a single touch. It is this same haptic technology which DOT’s developers want to capitalize on, and innovate existing gadgets out there.

This screenless smartwatch can actually set alarms, navigate directions, and deliver text messages through bluetooth connectivity. So if you wanna relay something to your visually impaired friend, all you have to do is go to your Bluetooth settings and click “Connect” and the rest will follow.

It also serves as an e-book reader; and it does this with the 4 sets of 6 dots found on the watch, with adjustable speeds to match users’ reading speeds. It can go as fast as 4 Braille characters per second, and as low as 1 Braille character per second. Aside from this, battery life is around 10 hours, but they say that you can go five days before charging it.

DOT is there to serve as an intimate wearable for the visually impaired. It advocates Braille literacy and information accessibility for the blind.

Eric Kim, co-founder and CEO of DOT, says that “Dot can be their lifeline, so they can learn braille and access everyday information through their fingers.” It’s true. Dot is a game changer for those smartwatches out there because it targets that specific market that most of our technologies don’t and can’t cater to. Indeed, time, and other things, are not blind with this brilliant invention.

Dot goes on sale this December, and will retail for around USD $300. It will be available in black, and white.