The Dot: A stylish smartwatch for the visually impaired

Dot Watch on Hand (Source: DOT) Photograph:( Others )

Others Delhi, India Feb 22, 2017, 10.33 AM (IST)

One look at The Dot smartwatch and you’d want to own the sleek timepiece. Aimed at improving lives of those who are less-sighted and to promote an eye-free experience to them, it is ready to hit the shelves after years of R&D by the company. 

Most assistive smartwatches for blind that exist, usually rely on audio prompts, whereas The Dot works on a mechanic that displays four braille characters at a time on its screen. It has four cells of six balls each and allows its users to send simple replies or actions back through its two-side buttons, according to the official website. 

Eric Juyoon Kim, founder and CEO of Dot, was quoted on the company's website, “The watch is just the first step in a bigger picture offering braille devices to the blind, especially those in developing markets, where the vast majority of visually-impaired reside.” He came up with the idea when his blind classmate attending the University of Washington could not use new tablets like the others and had to rely on bulky textbooks for help. He then decided to create a stylish, wearable device that outputs text in Braille (and other versions) on the watch-face. 

With The Dot watch, the company wants to see users navigating, moving confidently, while being aware of what sorts of notifications are arriving on their smartphones. 

The Dot smartwatch (Source: DOT) (Others)

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Dot Mini, a smart braille pad concept (Source: DOT) (Others)

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Dot, is a South Korean startup that has been working on the watch since the year 2014. But are now ready with the product. Starting this March, the company will deliver 140,000 to its backers. They are targeting 100,000 watched to be shipped out in 2017 with 40,000 already in the waiting list for next year. A small batch of 1,000 units will be available in London for $320. 

At present, Dot has signed a $1 million agreement with the Kenyan government to bring 8,000 units of its upcoming Dot Mini, an educational braille reader, with an aim to be sold below cost for around $200 each. 

They are also planning to collaborate with Google for a 2018 launch of the Dot Pad, a tactile Kindle-like e-reader that will display shapes and images through tactile buttons, that will help the visually disabled with learning math or even art. Currently, the watch is available in English and Korean languages and has plans of making language additions like Spanish, Arabic, French, German and Italian in the near future. 

(WION)