A start-up tech company recently announced that it is developing the world’s first Braille smartwatch.
Based in South Korea, Dot wants to develop affordable technology for the visually impaired.
“Until now, if you got a message on iOS from your girlfriend, for example, you had to listen to Siri read it to you in that voice, which is impersonal,” said Dot CEO Eric Ju Yoon Kim, speaking to Tech in Asia. “Wouldn't you rather read it yourself and hear your girlfriend's voice saying it in your head?”
Driven mostly by the continual releases of Apple products, the market for smartwatches and smart devices has recently grown exponentially.
According to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million people worldwide with severe visual impairments. 39 million of them are classed as legally blind.
Currently, smart braille devices are on the market at a cost of $3,000 and above. Dot aims to make this technology available for a fraction of the cost at less than $300.
This product will be the first smartwatch option for the blind.
It works by using a Braille display on a smooth face, with four depressed dots or “cells” that continually refresh and reveal new Braille characters as they rise and fall.
The size of a watch, the product will be light and easy to use. Dot.
If you’re a speedy reader, the device can also be altered by the user to change the character refreshing speed.
Haptic technology allows for the smartwatch to provide information to its user in real time, using touch alone. The smartwatch can connect to any device using a Bluetooth connection, which converts any text into Braille letters.
With the battery lasting 10 hours on a single charge, that’s a lot of reading.
Developed in South Korea, the smartwatch has successfully been tested on the country’s Braille screens, which are present on ATMs and in train stations and continually update and deliver information.
“90 percent of blind people become blind after birth,” said Kim, “and there’s nothing for them right now – they lose their access to information so suddenly.”
Dot brings the modern wearable technology of now to the blind. The start-up will make 10,000 Dot smartwatches available by the end of this year.
[H/T: Popular Science]