World’s first Braille smartwatch lets blind people feel messages on screen.

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World’s first Braille smartwatch lets blind people feel messages on screen.

Technology is supposed to make lives easier, but over 285 million visually impaired people miss out on these advances, which often rely on visuals on screens for their innovation. Millions of people have iPhones, for instance, but if you’re blind, you often miss out.

And even if someone with blindness uses smartphones or computers, they rely on sound — which requires them to plug in headphones, and cuts them off from the outside world. Using sound also deprives them of privacy — imagine, for instance, if Siri had to read your emails out loud at a coffee shop.

But South Korean manufacturer recently created the world’s first smartwatch to incorporate Braille into its interface. In development for three, years, the Dot watch uses 4 active dynamic Braille cells that update with changes in information — users can set the speed of change.

The Dot connects to a smartphone with Bluetooth, and can receive texts from any app and service. And like many smartwatches, you can also send simple messages with buttons on the side. Beyond the functionality, the watch itself is sleek and elegant with a smooth metal finish and balanced proportions — proving that a device can be a beautiful experience, even for the visually impaired.

Only about 5 percent of visually impaired own a Braille reading device, mostly because most are bulky and expensive. But Dot hops to ship over 100,000 watches, starting in March 2017, and will sell other units in London for $320.

Watch some users interact with the Dot — and see their faces light up with happiness…

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