Introducing Dot, The World’s First Braille Smartwatch


South Korean developers have unveiled a new smartwatch aimed at a small and often overlooked segment of the consumer electronics population: the visually impaired. The watch, called Dot, is a fully functional smartwatch with a Braille interface that lets blind users engage with technology in new and important ways. The team behind Dot cites some compelling social statistics in its mission statement. Currently, only 1f percent of traditional books have been translated into Braille, and as a result, the visually impaired population has largely abandoned learning Braille. Instead, visually impaired people rely on a variety of voice-to-text solutions to enjoy books and interact with the digital world. It is estimated that 95 percent of the world’s 285 million visually impaired people cannot read Braille, and therefore cannot read at all.

To address this problem, the team behind Dot has created a text-to-Braille interface that translates any digital text into Braille, including digital books, text messages, emails, and social media updates like tweets and Facebook posts. The smartwatch also provides a watch, alarm clock, reminders, and turn-by-turn GPS navigation, all through its Braille interface. With that much information available to users, the new device makes a compelling reason for learning Braille.

Still, 95 percent of the world’s visually impaired population has never learned to read Braille and would have to commit to doing so if they were buying this smartwatch. This is a significant problem for anyone hoping to market a device to the visually impaired population. To overcome this obstacle, Dot also includes embedded Braille training for beginners to help new users learn the language quickly and make the most of their new device.

The smartwatch itself is an aesthetically sleek watch face that houses sets of small cylindrical pins that raise to form Braille letters. The watch face can display four letters at any one time, and can be adjusted to increase or decrease the rate at which letters are displayed, meaning that users can crank up the speed and power read through an article, or slow down the speed to focus on a textbook or other dense material.

Dot just launched a pre-sale campaign, marketing the watch for $300 and promising a December ship date.

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