How did you come up with the idea?
Eric, our CEO had a blind classmate attending the University of Washington. While most of his peers used a new tablet device, the blind classmate lugged around a large, bulky textbook which obviously took more effort. Although there are impairment-friendly features on the tablet, the accessibility was deemed a huge issue. Existing adaptive/assistive technology devices were often overly expensive and there had been no major innovation in the field, especially regarding Braille. This is how Eric was inspired to create and develop.
What exactly is the Dot Watch?
The smart Braille watch, ‘Dot’ is a stylish, wearable device that outputs text in Braille (and its many versions) on the watch-face. It is completely practical and easy-to-use. One prominent difference between an existing smart watch and ‘Dot’ is within the usage scope: accessing information in Braille rather than in text or graphics. To achieve this, a state-of-the-art, refreshable Braille Display is used. It utilizes cutting-edge, electro-dynamic cells to seamlessly relay information. In such an active era, our device aims to fuel the ones deemed ‘limited’ or ‘immobile’.
How much does it cost?
As many are curious about the price first and foremost, it will be around 290 dollars before tax. Our goal is to keep the price as close to each other no matter the currency and purchasing platforms.
How is it different from other adaptive/assistive devices?
We have developed a whole new technology, instead of building onto the existing Piezo method. It’s incredibly easy to operate and beautifully crafted. Our innovation allows us to reduce the size and price of our products in a massive scale, as well. Instead of traditional Braille machines, our technology focuses on our seamlessness and portability.
How would it work with just 4 pins?
The device may have only 4 pins, but by using touch sensors, once you read the last letter and have your finger off the display, the pins will be refreshed for the new letters, it’s seamless. The user would read across the surface of a 43 mm radius circle. The point is not to read a whole book, much like sighted users who won’t read a novel on a smartwatch — it’s to be mobile and connected.
What functions does it have?
Much like some flagship smartwatch devices with large followings, it would be able to display text messages, social media notifications, and other customizable information in Braille. For this, we will have a Dot mobile application where you can pair certain applications with the device. The possibilities are endless.
As it is still a watch at the core, it will naturally display the time, being the first Braille watch ever to display down to the seconds.
What languages do you support?
For now, we have developed the relevant software in English and Korean languages. Further localization is necessary for an impactful development for future language addiitons. Our current priorities are Spanish, Arabic, French, German, and Italian, for the near future.
The Dot Team
We may be a small and humble startup, but we have a phenomenal team. The members possess the knowledge, experience and skills required in their respective fields. Our experienced seniors helm the Hardware, Software and Marketing areas, while the juniors bring the strength, creativity, and the courage to function together at optimal efficiency. We all learn from one another and continue to grow as an amazing team that strives for excellence.
Based on 31 patents, our innovation will bring forth a new wave to the assistive-device market. Also, as we are a global startup, we’ve been tirelessly partnering with other specialized entities, such as KAIST and Google, to name a few. We will aim to expand the existing market and aspire to be the de-facto leader of the $5 billion (USD) market. Until now, we have received over $5 million (USD) for mass production.