Accessible technology tends to lag behind mass market options, but sometimes it's not about demand, it's about taking a risk. The South Korean design startup DOT has been working hard on making braille-enabled smartwatches a reality for over three years. This month their labor (and awards) finally paid off.
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The DOT smartwatch incorporates mobile braille into a traditional watchface and syncs with smartphones via Bluetooth to provide updates, call notifications, texts, and more. Most watches and devices for the visually impaired lean towards disruptive audio feedback, or a silent tactile face without digital access, like the Haptica or Eone.
The DOT has been through many iterations and has won some high level praise. As of this month, they'll finally be shipping out to the ready wrists of their thousands of backers. While refining the design, they've been dedicated to the idea of an open platform, allowing developers and users to tailor the digital side for more wrist-friendly use. As-is, the DOT can already give you directions to Starbucks or display what your dumb kids are whining about by text.
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The current iteration of the DOT boasts a sleek but conservative face, a protective bezel, a seven-day battery, and a neat magnetic charging base. Their early Apple-inspired versions were attractive, but the final form harnesses an everyday elegance of its own without sacrificing the space needed for clear reading.
More user interviews, specs, and preorder on the DOT site.