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affordable innovations for the vision impaired and the deafblind to lead independent, fulfilling lives.

Awareness can be sightless.

Made by Dot Incorporation, the Dot Watch equips smartphone users to view notifications on their watch in Braille. It boasts a minimalistic watch face and durable aluminum body.

The face of the watch has a four-cell Braille display. Two touch sensors allow users to scroll and read notifications received from their smartphones via Bluetooth pairing. The right side of the watch has select, dial, and home buttons for navigation.

Unfortunately, Braille and technology can often be depicted as at odds with each other, and studies show that Braille literacy rates have decreased overall as the presence of tech has increased.

Dot is hoping to encourage the continued use of Braille in tech and features the experience of blind Apple engineer Jordyn Castor, “She insists tech is complementary to Braille, not a replacement. ‘I use a Braille display every time I write a piece of code, it allows me to know what the code feels like.” In coding, she uses a combination of Nemeth Braille — or “math Braille” — and Alphabetic Braille.”

An excerpt from the Dot’s website reads, “The device may have only 4 pins, but by using touch sensors, once you read the last letter and have your finger off the display, the pins will be refreshed for the new letters, it’s seamless. The user would read across the surface of a 43 mm radius circle. The point is not to read a whole book, much like sighted users who won’t read a novel on a smartwatch — it’s to be mobile and connected.”

“Cheers to those daredevils who carry out life like less-sighted superheroes.”

An excerpt from the Dot’s website reads, “The device may have only 4 pins, but by using touch sensors, once you read the last letter and have your finger off the display, the pins will be refreshed for the new letters, it’s seamless. The user would read across the surface of a 43 mm radius circle. The point is not to read a whole book, much like sighted users who won’t read a novel on a smartwatch — it’s to be mobile and connected.”

Using the mode called, “Automatic Scroll”, most user are able to read a basic sentence in about 10 seconds. Using the “Touch-Assisted Scroll” mode and utilizing the watch’s touch sensors allow for faster reading according to the reading speed of the user.

Early beta versions of the product were tested independently by many users, including The Chicago Lighthouse and Apple. In addition to thorough user testing, they have developed 31 patents and partnered with other specialized entities like KAIST and Google.

Accessing Lengthier Content with Dot

The Dot Watch’s capabilities obviously don’t target the reading of longer text (i.e. a novel), but the company does intend to address this by introducing two new, mini-celled tablet devices called the Dot Pad and the Dot Mini. These devices would utilize the same technology that has been developed for the smartwatch, but will include a much larger amount of cells to facilitate more lengthy reading.

[via dotincorp]

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