“We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.” With these heartfelt words from their Ambassador, singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder, we were introduced to the Dot Braille Smartwatch.
Three years in the making, The Dot Braille Smartwatch was the idea of Eric Kim. The founder and CEO of The Dot, was inspired by a blind classmate who he came across during his studies at the University of Washington. Watching him, he realised that because he did not have sight, he was unable to take advantage of new technologies, such as using the tablet, like the other students could.
Reaching For The Unreachable
His decision to try and create a particular product, came with cost barriers and lack of innovations. Not having access to much information did not deter him to create a product that he knew would not have mass appeal. His determination was driven by the need to come up with a product that would benefit visually impaired communities.
The Dot’s overall objective is to accentuate mobility. When worn, users are able to learn various braille formats whilst on the go. Named the world’s first smartwatch for the vision-impaired and the deafblind, The Dot has the ability to dispense information using a unique tactile watch-face. The smartwatch has a gyroscope, navigation, accelerometer and is able to tell the wearer the time and set alarms via a Bluetooth connection with a smartphone.
Mechanically, The Dot smartwatch, designed in collaboration with cloudandco, uses four cells out of six tiny moving components. The downfall of the compact device is that it can only display four characters at a time. This means that it is not meant for longer texts. Designed with three buttons, two of them enable the user to accept calls and send replies. The slightly larger third button, acts as a remote control for the device that is connected via Bluetooth.
With new ideas in the pipeline, Kim plans to continue to “innovate until the vision-impaired and the deafblind are able to feel the effects of this very intimate revolution”. The company recently confirmed that over 100,000 of this award winning device will be shipped out as of March 2017, estimated price, $320 (USD).