A South Korean company has created Dot smartwatch specifically designed for the blinds and visually impaired, as it supports Braille language through 24 dots that move up or down depending on the data to show. Like other smartwatches, it will also pair with a smartphone, and received notifications over Bluetooth to Android and iOS smartphones.
- Wireless MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex M4F + Cortex M0 microcontroller
- “Display” – 4 Dot Cells (24 Dots) made of 6000 series silver aluminum
- Connectivity – Bluetooth LE 4.2
- Misc – 24 touch sensors, shaft horizontal vibration motor, a crown, two buttons
- Battery – 400mAh li-polymer battery good for a typical 7 days on a charge
- Dimensions – Watch: 43mm x 12.5mm; Leather band – S size: 22x220mm; M size: 22x250mm; L size: 22x290mm
- Weight – 27g
This is all made possible through the company’s dot rotor technology that allows to move the little dots up and down. Time display is easy as it uses the four dot cells to display the number for hours and minutes: one dot, two dots, three dots and four dots = 12: 34. When people get notifications, the watch vibrates, and then the message is displayed in Braille via the dots. Since there are only four dot cells, I assume the watch will detect which ones you are already read with its touch sensor, and move to the next “characters” for the rest of the message.
The watch currently supports Korean and English Braille languages, but Japanese, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Polish, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch and Chinese versions are coming soon. The dot rotor would be great for some kind of Braille e-Reader, and the company is working on Dot Pad to do exactly that to be released in 2019. I’m also expecting the technology to be used in other applications where you may have to show / hide tiny physical buttons depending on context.