207 years ago today, the man who devised a system for reading and writing for the blind, was born. Now, Louis Braille’s system of dots has been given a hi-tech design upgrade by a company called Dot, Inc.
The Dot Watch, which turns text messages into braille for the blind, is being celebrated as the first major innovation for visually impaired readers in nearly 15 years.
After seeing a blind classmate lugging around a heavy braille bible, which contained only five percent of the contents of the holy book, Eric Ju Yoon Kim was surprised that nothing like a Braille iPad existed.
So the University of Washington student set out to invent one.
His first product is a smart watch that raises and lowers pins on its face to create four Braille characters at a time. The watch works with both iOS and Android devices, allowing the blind to immediately read texts, alerts, and other short messages.
Electro-mechanical Braille readers can translate text on computer screens in a method similar to the DOT watch, but the bulky machines can cost more than $2,000.
His company, DOT Inc, plans to sell their wearable device for about $300.
It’s impractical for reading longer text such as an e-book, so DOT Inc’s next project is the world’s first Braille smart device which they plan to deliver in 2017.
The DOT Pad will feature multiple layers of Braille pins, allowing a more natural reading experience. The DOT Pad will also let users feel shapes, math symbols, and read e-books.
Only about one percent of all books in print have been translated for the blind. Having a pocket device that could translate vast libraries of e-books into Braille would write a whole new chapter in reading for the blind.
(WATCH the video from Arirang TV below) – Photo: DOT Inc
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