Braille smartwatch allows blind people to read texts

A smartwatch designed specifically for blind or visually impaired people has been developed in South Korea.

Although developments such as Siri and Cortana have made smartphones more accessible than ever to those with visual impairments, there has been very little on offer that doesn’t require text being spoken aloud. This could all change with the development of ‘Dot’, a smartwatch that supports Braille.

The device, which has been created by a team of designers and developers in Seoul, would not only enable wearers to read text messages but emails or even entire eBooks. Dot will connect to smartphones via Bluetooth 4.0, and wearers will be notified of incoming messages through vibrations.

The Dot team opted to create its smartwatch after discovering that only one per cent of normal books are translated into Braille, and that e-Braille readers can cost thousands of pounds. In fact, 95 per cent of blind people give up on learning Braille because the costs do not justify the rewards.

To combat this, Dot co-founder and CEO, Eric Ju Yoon Kim, said the device his team had created will cost no more than $300 (£192) when it goes on sale later this year. Further, the watch can also act as a Braille teacher, helping those who have lapsed, or who haven’t ever tried, to learn the tactile language.

There are plans to start with 10,000 units, before going ahead with more based on initial results.