The Dot


Shayan Malik, Cutting Edge Editor

Many of us take our vision for granted and do not realize the struggles of the visually impaired. Today, there are an estimated 253 million visually impaired people in the world. Not only do these individuals have a difficult time navigating outside the spaces that they are accustomed to, but they also encounter different challenges like not being able to tell the time as instantly as the rest of the world.


One second is all it takes to know what time it is, that is, if you can see your watch or clock. On the other hand, if you are blind or have low vision, it can be a very different situation. People with visual disabilities have to invest in watches that can speak the time or special watches that contain tactile hands and dots so that one may feel the time. This, however, consumes a greater amount of time and energy to execute.


Just last year, Dotincorp, through Eric Juyoon Kim, introduced the new smartwatch called The Dot which has integrated modern technology with a tactile watch. Furthermore, The Dot Smartwatch lets the visually impaired receive real time information from their phones, such as notifications, text messages, Facebook messages, along with other alerts, all in braille. When there is a notification on the phone, the smartwatch vibrates, and then the user can select to read the message through touch. The smartwatch not only gives the visually impaired notifications, but also helps people read news, check the weather and control home appliances.This allows the wearer to stay connected just like anyone else.


The Dot contains a mechanism which has four motorized modules under the watch’s dial, and each module has six possible dots. The cell is the main component of the watch and makes the dots go up and down. Moreover, each dot is capable of moving up and down individually to display up to four characters at a time. Accordingly, the watch enables the person to able to read the words on the watch as if it were on paper.


Currently, the Braille smartwatch is suitable for English, Korean and German speakers. Dotincorp is also in the process of developing the watch to include Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese versions as well. The Dot currently sells for 300 euros ($320) a piece and is being distributed in 14 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.


All in all, the creators of this brilliant watch had only the best intentions in mind while constructing them. Additionally, these watches have the capacity to empower people. The Dot gives the same opportunities of learning and communicating to the visually impaired with the same privacy as everyone else. We live now in the age of information, and it is our time to use that information to create things that aide in the betterment of humanity.