Ingenious braille smartwatch puts time at your fingertips

Ingenious braille smartwatch puts time at your fingertips

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The Dot smartwatch has a changing braille face to help visually impaired users receive digital information.
The Dot smartwatch has a changing braille face to help visually impaired users receive digital information.
Photo: Dot

We hear all the time how technology makes our lives better. But many such advances leave the world’s 285 million visually impaired people in the dark.

Not so with this invention: A South Korean startup has developed a smartwatch with a face that has four sets of six dots that represent braille characters.

The dots rise and fall quickly to provide the same kind of information others get on, say, their Apple Watch.

The braille watch, called Dot, will cost less than $300.

Dot aims to raise the literacy of the visually impaired, many of whom never learn to read braille because of the expense of tools and limited access to education, according to its website.

Using voice commands, the Dot can provide text information from apps like iMessage. The dots can shift as quickly as 100 times per second, but the watch allows users to slow down the flow of information.

“Ninety percent of blind people become blind after birth, and there’s nothing for them right now. They lose their access to information so suddenly,” Dot CEO Eric Ju Yoon Kim told the website Tech in Asia. “Dot can be their lifeline, so they can learn braille and access everyday information through their fingers, which is the goal of braille literacy.”

The watch goes on sale this December with a limited production of 10,000, according to Tech in Asia. The company is simultaneously developing programs and hardware to increase braille use among the visually impaired.