In a conversation I was having the other day, I came to the conclusion that of all of my senses, the one I would be most devastated to lose would be my sense of sight. We use our vision for countless purposes, as significant as walking or driving and as subtle as reading facial expressions while communicating with each other. Assistive devices for those who are blind are improving, but the methods some of them use are still missing the mark in making their users comfortable and effective in taking care of daily tasks.
Take the watches designed for the vision impaired, which up to this point relied on an audio output or vibration mechanism to let the user know the time of day. While they do serve their purpose, I can imagine that their noises and buzzes make them annoying and impractical for settings that don’t do well with interruptions, like concerts or business meetings. Some open-faced models do allow the users to feel the watch hands to tell the time, but some argue that these aren’t entirely intuitive and take too long to read.
Designer David Chavez is venturing to solve the problem through this sleek Haptica Braille watch that rotates throughout the day to reflect the time. It can be read discreetly by swiping your finger across the face without annoying watch announcements, and it won’t shake your wrist. Plus, I think the design is sleek and looks comfortable.
Chavez has partnered with Kickstart to seek funding for the project, hoping to make his more practical design available to those who need it. The website has helped in bringing financial backing to gadgets like the TikTok iPod Nano Watch-Kit and the iPhone 4 Glif tripod. You can watch his video below and read more about the project here.