It could be a significant groundbreaking in blind and partially sighted people’s life. South Korean startup Dot has created the world’s first Braille smartwatch which delivers the time with tactile information instead of visual clues. This device combines utility with style.
Dot Watch Braille Smartwatch has a sleek, minimalist design inspired by Apple’s smart technology products. It is made entirely of 6000 series aluminum to keep it lightweight at just 33 grams. The 43 mm case contains four active dynamic braille cells, all of which are powered by a Li-polymer 400mAh battery. Finished with a stunningly comfortable and fashionable 22 mm leather band, the Dot Watch can connect to your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth.
The device can receive information from apps like Whatsapp, Google Maps, and Messenger. Users can reply to texts and perform simple actions on the device using two buttons on the side of the watch face. Dot’s watch is also magnetically charged. It has a battery life of up to seven days and displays four Braille characters in real time on its stylish white face. The company has developed the relevant software in English and Korean languages. Their current priorities for upcoming languages are Spanish, Arabic, French, German, and Italian.
Dot founder and CEO, Eric Kim, first thought of the design when he was studying at the University of Washington, USA. While most students were able to take advantage of tablet devices in lectures, he noticed a blind student struggling to carry large, bulky braille books.
The startup, after three years of developing its watch, will finally launch its product in March. Dot claims to have 140,000 customers already lined up, including music legend Stevie Wonder. The company plans to ship its first 100,000 watches by the end of 2017, retailing at $290 (£323).
Dot Watch Braille Smartwatch undoubtedly raises the quality of life for blind people, by bringing technology to their homes. However, the world must face a serious problem. Studies show that among 40 million blind people, 90% are Braille illiterate. Dot’s Watch is probably a drop in the ocean. Yet it’s widely known that enough raindrops will help wear away a stone. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed.