A simple traditional wristwatch can be pretty tough to read for those who are visually impaired or blind. With the invention of braille watches and the talking watch, the main problem of reading time was solved. Over time, with technological advancements, telling-time for the deaf-blind gradually became easier. Companies have addressed the aesthetic needs, and offered ease of usage and freedom of choice to the buyer by providing several options to choose from. Here is a list of brands that addressed the time concerns of the blind.
Time Optics is the name that is associated with the talking watch. This company created watches for the blind, elderly, low vision, kids and basically anyone who would find it hard to read the time on a traditional, small watch. Their watches and pendants are made in traditional style, with contrasting panels, for men and women. They also have “time teaching watch” for little kids who are learning to tell-time. The brand developed the Unique Custom Tooled Talking IC Watch Chip, which is a dual voice and alarm setting chip that reads aloud the time, date, day, month and year in both male and female voices.
While other analog wristwatches would let you set just one alarm for the day, Almeda watches would have a special feature, letting one set up to 6 alarms a day. It was especially helpful for people who would like to be reminded of their appointments or medication. To maintain discretion, these watches would vibrate instead of making a noise or talking.
The Eone Bradley Watch
Eone was created by Hyungsoo Kim after understanding the struggles of a blind friend who was self-conscious about his talking watch and would rely on Kim to know the time. This unique watch tells time by touch. There are raised markers and 2 ball bearings that allow the wearer to tell time by running their fingers across the top and sides of the watch. Although made for blind people, the elegant looks of the watch made it popular among the sighted as well.
Meteor is a small vibrating pocket watch for the deaf and blind. It has a crescent moon shape with a rounded bottom and three buttons placed vertically for hours, minutes and tens. It is a simple watch that vibrates discretely in long and short pulses to tell the time. Setting the time is very easy and the watch is sturdy and water proof.
The Dot Watch is the world’s first braille smartwatch for the deaf and blind. Created by South Korean company, Dot Incorporation, this device tells time via braille cells. The display consists of 24 dots that change positions according to the time and date.
Dot can also be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth, after which it will be able to inform you when you receive calls and texts messages that are translated to braille and sent to Dot. Two touch sensors enable the user to scroll through options, notifications or read longer texts.
The watch also has other features like alarm, stop watch, timer, memo and the most useful feature of them all – ‘find my phone or watch’, with which one will be able to find a misplaced watch using their smartphone or a misplaced phone using the watch.
With a sleek, minimal design, the watch is almost featherlight and can last for almost 10 days with a single charge. And for those who can’t read braille, the watch also comes with a Learn Braille Programme.
If you liked reading this, you’d also like: The Power Of Prosthetics: Uniting Disability With Superhumanity