Innovation That Matters

Braille smartwatch won't replace e-readers but it does tell the time brilliantly

Work & Lifestyle

Dot is a digital braille smartwatch for the blind that displays real-time info and messages via changing, pop-up braille characters.

Register for full access

Our library content is no longer freely available. Please register to gain access to more than 12,000 innovations, updated daily. Our content is global in scope and covers solutions to the world's biggest challenges across 18 sectors.

The Dot braille watch is a smart device designed to enable visually impaired users to read smartphone data in real-time — including e-books, directions and text messages. But as the Fast Company has reported, the smartwatch is actually best suited for its least flashy purpose — telling the time.


Dot is a digital e-reader which syncs with the user’s smartphone, and displays tactile messages via pop-up braille characters on the device’s changing display. The problem is that the display only hosts four characters at a time, and even though it refreshes at an adjustable reading speed, the stream of broken up words creates a incredibly disruptive reading experience for even short messages, let alone articles or e-books. However, as Neva Fairchild from the American Foundation for the Blind has pointed out, the limited display is perfectly suited for enabling visually impaired users to discreetly ascertain the time — a capacity which is surprisingly underserved by current devices. Current braille radial watches are clunky to use and smart devices tend to simply read out the time aloud, which can often be inappropriate.

Dot is significantly cheaper than the average braille e-reader at USD 300, but these can display anything from 12 characters to 40 characters at a time. It is set to launch in December with ambitions to bring braille reading to the masses — perhaps a simplified version designed specifically for telling the time would also find a place in the market?



Download PDF

Springwise Services:
Our expertise in spotting the latest innovations is the best resource to empower your team’s future planning.

Find out More