The Braille Watch

DOT is the smartwatch for visually impaired smartphone users, designed to perform basic functions like give notifications, display time, read tweets and so on. The Dot smartwatch uses a tactile display comprising of 4 active dynamic braille cells with rounded magnetic metal pins which move up and down to form braille characters. It connects to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth. It is compatible with both iOS and Android.

The smartwatch in itself is a revolutionary innovation in the field of accessible and disabled-friendly tech. Earlier, visually impaired people had two options in watches – those which were tactile but conventional: where time has to be figured out by feeling the hands of the clock and the numbers are formatted the same way as in a conventional watch, but in braille. The other option is Text to Speech (TTS) based watches which read out the time to the user. Both have major drawbacks – the former is inconvenient and prone to damage to the delicate moving hands of the watch. The latter is unusable in crowded areas or loud surroundings; and in quiet areas, it ends up being distracting and attracts way too much attention. (Think checking time in a classroom. You usually want to be discrete when trying to figure out the time)

The Dot solves this problem thanks to the active braille it has – the braille characters form quickly and are readable like normal braille text. Thus a time check is a simple and quick process – like it should be. But the smartwatch promises the smart element too – one can read notifications or messages on the watch instead of using audio for all notifications. Similarly, small texts, like tweets, can be read through the Dot.

While the innovation has received praise for its capability as primarily a watch and also a smartwatch, the best part about it is the price. The 2016 version is available for $300 – which is roughly the same as the cost of a Moto 360, and much lesser than the Apple Watch. The company behind it is also contemplating a Dot Tab to introduce a portable and smart tablet which is braille based.

Country of Origin: South Korea

Year: 2015


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