In countries where smartphones are popular, it’s common to see folks walking down the street, tiny screen in hand, as they navigate to a new cafe, text with a buddy, or read an email from their boss. Smartwatches, although not so pervasive, essentially help people do the same things. But you never see a blind person transfixed to their iPhone or honed in on their smartwatch, because the technology simply isn’t compatible with the vision-impaired way of life. Enter the Dot—the world’s first Braille smartwatch—which could close the gap that precludes many blind people from interacting with information the way sighted folks can.
Developed in South Korea, The Dot can’t really be compared to other smartwatches on the market, like the recently-debuted Apple Watch that left us pretty nonplussed. The Dot is actually better—at least, it is if you can read Braille. According to its creator, the blind man’s smartwatch has all the basic features you’d expect from such a device. It can give you the time, remind you of an event, allow you to communicate with your friends, get directions, and communicate with other devices via Bluetooth 4.0. The Dot also boasts an impressive battery life, reportedly being capable of 10 hours of active refresh time, which translates into roughly five days of standby time.
Blind information junkies will appreciate some of the Dot’s other abilities too. The smartwatch uses an array of active dots, capable of projecting four Braille characters at once, and users can customize the refresh speed, making it possible to read faster or take one’s time digesting the information. This allows the Dot to do something other smartwatches really can’t tackle, which is act as an e-reader. That’s important because less than one percent of books are ever translated into Braille, and not every blind person enjoys audiobooks.
The company is currently accepting pre-orders for the actually-quite-affordable price of just under $300. The Dot is expected to ship out this December, so perhaps it’s time to think ahead about the perfect holiday gift for your favorite vision-impaired loved one. And, if that person doesn’t already know how to read in Braille, don’t worry; the Dot can actually help them learn it.
Via Science Alert
Images via The Dot