Can a watch for blind people even exist? You might be surprised to find out that it does – and it's actually a really awesome piece of tech.
When asked to check the time, 99% of guys will look at their watch. It's second nature.
From a very young age, men are taught how to tell the time. It's simple – look at where the big hand is pointing and look at where the little hand is pointing. That's how everyone tells the time, right?
Not quite. According to The American Foundation for the Blind:
‘Findings from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data release established that an estimated 32.2 million adult Americans (or about 13% of all adult Americans) reported they either “have trouble” seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses, or that they are blind or unable to see at all.'
That means just under 15% of Americans would find it difficult reading the time on a basic watch face – a skill that most of us take for granted as one of the most basic qualities of life. Let's face it; it's not easy to find a suitable watch for blind people.
It's an awful situation for anyone to be in. How can a man who has visual impairment organize his life if he cannot accurately tell the time whenever the need arises?
That's where The Dot Watch comes in, gents. The best watch for blind people and the visually impaired.
Dot watch is a groundbreaking Braille watch. It's a unique timepiece that allows the visually impaired to check the time and benefit from many of the same functions a modern smartwatch would provide for Americans who can clearly see the world. It also features a word to Braile translator where you can type a word into the app and it will spell it out on the DotWatch for you. You can also find “protection skin” when you receive the DotWatch. This is a water/dust resistant function which is essential when blind people use the watch in daily life.
In today's article, I will be running you through the essential features of the best watch for blind people.
Let's get started.
A Classic Style
A lot of functional watches on the market can be pretty ugly.
Gents, it's often unavoidable. Some watches have specific purposes and features that require a bulky and robust design that some might consider ugly.
Let's be honest – you're not going to wear a shatter-resistant hiking watch with a suit or smart-casual outfit. Watches designed to withstand the harsh outdoor elements just don't match a lot of everyday styles, which is fine. After all, you wouldn't think twice about not wearing hiking boots to work.
But does a watch for the visually impaired need to be bulky and ugly to achieve its goal?
An accessibility timepiece's basic purpose is to provide a convenient and easy way for the visually impaired to experience the everyday conveniences of regular smartwatch wearers. With all the clever tech and groundbreaking science that these watches showcase, you'd think watches like The Dot Watch would be pretty bulky right?
Guys, you couldn't be more wrong.
The best watch for blind people features a very minimalist aesthetic – the idea is that it shouldn't look any different to a regular watch so less is definitely more as far as aesthetics are concerned.
Watches such as The Dot Watch boast a sleek and stripped back design that elevates their construction to match that of the Apple Watch or the Galaxy Watch.
As we move into the 2020s, minimalist design is on the rise. Aesthetically speaking, neutral watch faces and cool metal design reduce the clutter on a watch and give it a very classy appeal. Like a well-cut suit, a 2020 timepiece should be sharp, thoughtfully put together, and incredibly versatile.
A Simple Design
The technology we have at our disposal in the 21st Century always amazes me.
However, the more high-tech our world becomes, the more complicated it can seem. For the visually impaired, this isn't a good thing. An accessibility watch needs to be as minimalist as possible to ensure that it's user friendly to those who struggle to see.
Just think, even 20 years ago, a diagnosis of visual impairment would have meant a lifelong disadvantage in even the most basic of daily tasks.
Fast forward to the present day, and accessibility watches are starting to bridge the gap between style and life-changing functionality. For example, the Dot Watch blends modern touch-sensitive technology with Braille – a physical language developed by French educator Loius Braille at the start of the 19th Century.
Modern science working hand in hand with an age-old language – it's truly an amazing thing.
What's The Best Watch Design For The Visually Impaired?
A great accessibility smartwatch design features an easy to read Braille interface. A great example is The Dot Watch interface – featuring four braille cells on the device's face. There are two cells on the left and the other two cells on the right from the center.
There are also two touch sensors below the second and third cell, blending physical Braille output with touch-sensitive input. As a watch for blind people, the more tactile engagement on offer, the better.
Commonly, smartwatches feature 3 functional buttons on the side of the watch face. Big brand watches like the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch utilize this layout.
On The Dot Watch, the button above the crown is the select button, and the one below it is the home button.
Through innovative Braille-based technology, users can read SMS messages, check call ID, answer/reject calls and use numerous other smartphone applications that would otherwise only be accessible to those with the ability to see what is on their screen.
Utilizing an intricate dot matrix, different numbers and letters can be displayed on the watch in Braille form. This allows seamless translation of the text-based information from the user's smartphone.
Not only that, but Dot Watch offers a “Study Braille” Menu where you can type a word or numbers into the app and it will spell it out in Braille on your Dot Watch.
Step 1. Main
Step 2. Function
Step 3. Study Braille
Step 4-1. Numbers.
Step 4-2. Alphabets
Step 4-3. Playground
Up-To-Date Lifestyle Features
Just because someone has visual impairment doesn't mean they should miss out on the conveniences offered to us by modern smartwatch technology.
Modern smartwatches for the blind often feature many of the same abilities as a regular smartwatch, which can be accessed by rotating the crown button on the device's side. For example, on The Dot Watch, it's simple to access the main menu options: simply press the ‘Home' button so that all the Braille cells are inactive and then begin rotating the crown clockwise.
This will take you through the menu options one by one, raising the Braille markers that represent each key feature of the device.
The watch has a total of seven menus:
- Bluetooth Connection check
- Remaining battery check
- Home screen
Notification CenterWho'd have thought that accessing notifications through Braille would be possible on a smartwatch? It's great, after all, the visually impaired need to check their messages just as often as those with 20/20 vision.
There are many ways accessibility smartwatches achieve this, but most tend to use voice communication that reads notifications out loud to the user.
However, this can be a bit embarrassing – not all notifications are appropriate to be read aloud to everyone within earshot!
The Dot Watch has come up with a great solution to this. Using the dot matrix, Braille markers read ‘NOTI' to show the user they're on the notification center option.
If no notifications are available, then the 4 available Braille cells will read ‘NONE'. However, if your Dot Watch is trying to notify you of something, it will immediately begin presenting the notification to you in Braille form by raising the dots on the surface of the watch face.
Pro tip: There are only 4 Braille cells available on the watch face. This means you can only read four characters at a time. However, you can quickly scroll through words and sentences by tapping the touchpads on the watch face.
Basic Time DisplayWhat's the use of a watch that doesn't tell you the time?
Smartwatches for the visually impaired often allow users to receive a voice reading of the time whenever they need it. However, some smartwatches can display the time on the face of the watch using Braille.
Take The Dot Watch's interface as an example. When the watch is in rest mode (all of the Braille dots are lowered), simply pressing the select button will quickly raise the dots to show the current time in hours and minutes.
Need to know the time in seconds? Easy – just press that select button again, and the watch will provide you with a time reading in seconds.
A Compatible Mobile AppFor additional features, it's possible to integrate accessibility watches with cell phone apps.
Usually, an app acts as a great booster pack for the functionality of the watch itself. Typically, enable accessibility watches to communicate text-based, phone notifications to the wearer using voice or Braille.
Battery LifeGuys, we all know the struggle of losing smartwatch power at the worst possible moment.
Often featuring a powerful Li-Polymer 380mAh battery, the battery life of accessibility smartwatches can reach up to 5-7 days on average.
The Li-Polymer 380mAh battery is a battery that Samsung uses in many of its smartphones. The benefits of using this battery in a smartwatch are its size, strength, and safety.
Scientifically speaking, the Li-Polymer 380mAh battery doesn't use a liquid-based electrolyte. This means it can have a far smaller profile and is far less likely to become faulty.
In a nutshell, using this battery means that watches can be smaller in size and safer to use.
Smartwatches For The Visually Impaired
Watches for the visually impaired come in many forms. However, most feature an audio system that communicates with the wearer via voice feedback. A good idea in theory, but not everyone wants their private messages read out loud to them in public places.
Using a Braille interface is a revolutionary way of allowing the visually impaired to read notifications, the time, and many other useful messages from their smartwatch in text form.
The Dot Watch is Dot Incorporation's pioneering device that achieves just this. By blending modern science with age-old tactile language, The Dot Watch can make the everyday functions of a smartwatch second nature to the visually impaired.
It's all about making sure that the visually impaired can experience smart technology's modern conveniences without the setbacks of embarrassing voice communications or bulky watch designs.
Curious what other watches I've had my eye on over the past few years? Check out the 5 Rolexes I love!