Originally published April 2017
Smartwatches, love them or hate them, are becoming a huge part of our day to day life. Many people have them, and companies are making more and more apps to go along with them as the days go on. However, for someone who cannot see, they’re very difficult to use. Though voice control on many of the devices (like Apple’s Siri) may aid in allowing those who are blind to use a smartwatch, it’s still not something created with them in mind.
The company Dot thought about this, and they’ve developed a smartwatch for blind users.
AN ACCESSIBLE SMARTWATCH INSPRIED BY A CLASSMATE
Eric Juyoon Kim, the CEO of Dot, had a classmate during his time at University of Washington who was vision-impaired. Watching his classmate having to lug around a big braille book while everyone else sported tablets struck him. Accessibility for the blind to have technology like tablets is still an issue. Certain existing devices aimed at remedying this are usually very expensive, and Eric wanted to make something more affordable and accessible for those who needed it.
Dot is a small start-up company at the moment, but they have a great team of engineers working on the project alongside Eric. They’ve also won various awards for their work since 2014, including at the London International Awards in October.
ABOUT THE DOT SMARTWATCH
The smartwatch is a Braille watch, that has the Braille text right on the watch face for users to touch and interact with. It’s meant to be as unlimited as possible in its potentials. Dot has created a new technology in order to make this watch work the way they want to. Their developed technology lessens the size needed for the device, making it not bulky or heavy (their product is 12.5mm thick and weighs 27g). They also developed this technology to be less expensive, and therefore make it more accessible to everyone, while uncompromising on the device quality.
The target price of the Dot Watch will start from $300 before tax, and Dot plans to keep the price range consistent across the global market.
The watch will display text messages, social media notifications, and other text-based notifications, allowing the user to read whatever they need to right on their wrist. And, of course, it will also display the time in Braille as well. It also works with both iPhone and Android devices.
For now, the product will be available in both English and Korean. They plan on bringing more Braille languages to the table, such as Japanese, Arabic, French, German, Dutch, Chinese, and more.
HOW DO I GET ONE?
You can currently Pre-Order the device here. Since the price has not yet been set, pre-ordering the smartwatch will not contractually bind you financially. There will be a 10% discount, however, if you do decide to pre-order the Dot Watch.
Marked on their website’s about page is a quote from Stevie Wonder. It states: “We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability”, and Dot plans to do just that. It will be great to see how far this product goes, and how many people it will help.
*This article is not sponsored
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM. Find her on Twitter.