A braille smartwatch is launching that will let blind people read text messages, ebooks, and interact with their apps from any Bluetooth-enabled phone by touch.
The braille smartwatch, aptly named Dot, is the first to use haptic technology to enable its wearer to read information from a phone, displaying text in braille on its moveable interface made of magnets and rising, falling pins.
An internal vibrator motor alerts Dot’s wearer to notifications on their phone, before automatically shifting from telling the time to displaying messages in braille. The interface can display four characters at a time on its four ‘cells’, moving underneath your finger like a conveyor belt to display a continuous flow of text at adjustable speeds.
Wearers will also be able to learn braille using an app on their phone which reads out letters for Dot to spell out.
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Its South Korean developers claim that Dot represents a breakthrough in how blind people interact with their mobile devices. Eric Ju Kim, co-founder and CEO of Dot, told Tech in Asia, “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. Wouldn’t you rather read it yourself and hear your girlfriend’s voice saying it in your head?”
The company is initially rolling out 3000 Dots to the US in December this year for less than just $300 each (around £193). It also hopes to apply a similar braille system to ATM machines and public information kiosks – for example, a braille module on a train could let users know what station they’re at.
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