Now this is genius. Dot Inc. has invented a Braille smart watch that helps visually impaired people check social media, view images, read texts, check the weather, read news and control smart homes.
“If you get a call, it vibrates, then you can check who is calling you.” -Eric Kim, CEO of Dot Inc.
“You can get on Google Maps and find the nearest Starbucks. Boom there it is.” -Arturo Espinosa, Braille teacher.
Dot Inc’s watch has 24 touch sensors and uses electro-dynamic cells to transmit information. The Bluetooth wathc uses an app to translate text and images into Braille. While the user reads through content, the display refreshes new letters.
The watch debuted in April for $290, and it already has over 100,000 pre-orders. There are 285 million visually impaired people around the globe. In an interconnected world, this watch isn’t leaving anyone behind.
[Image description: a person’s fingers are touching a pin with Hillary’s campaign slogan “Stronger Together” in white lettering on a blue background, thus reading the same message etched in Braille on said pin]
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Hello! I was wondering if it would be okay or if it would be seen as ableist for someone to learn braille if their eyesight could potentially be improved with glasses or contacts? I would like to learn, however, I don't want to be taking or using up resources when I am not the targeted audience, especially when those resources are limited in the first place.
As far as just learning braille goes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever even if you are fully sighted. Simply deciding to learn braille will absolutely not cause any harm or use up any resources. You can always get new braille textbooks and if you’re fully sighted, some even prefer to learn visually, which you can easily do online.
However, after learning when it comes to actually using braille materials for things, I can see where you could be worried. Though, I would say this is generally not a problem, either. If you are not fully sighted and do have some degree of visual impairment, absolutely DO NOT feel ashamed in the slightest! If you want to start using braille because your vision just isn’t cutting it for print or you think you could just read faster in braille or if you could benefit from it in any way, absolutely go for it! If you’re visually impaired or legally blind in any way, you are NOT EVER “too sighted” for braille, and that goes for canes and other assistive technology, too. If you think it would help you, go for it 100%!
I suppose the only time it could be a problem is if you ARE fully sighted and want to use some materials that may be in short supply, such as checking out braille books from the state library for the blind, as there is often a long waiting list for those books already, or say, if you were at a resteraunt that has only one braille menu available. In those cases, it would probably be best to either opt for the print menu or purchase a braille book online so as not to use the hard-to-obtain free services and such.
HOWEVER, if you are still fully sighted and you have any other disability or anything else that makes it harder for you to read print, again, absolutely do not hesitate to learn and read braille!! If it will help you read better, faster, more often, or anything else for whatever reason, absolutely take advantage of it! Weather you have ADHD and the braille helps you stay focused much better than the print, or you get headaches and need to read in the dark, or anything else like that, you are most definitely more than welcome and even encouraged to use the braille and help yourself any way you can.
Sorry for how long this got, but I hope it helped!
“Rhythm Heaven is particularly special for Hibiki because it’s the only video game he’s been able to play since losing his eyesight as a toddler. Hibiki’s dad, Kentaro, told BuzzFeed News that his oldest son started having problems with his eyes when he was a year and a half old. Doctors diagnosed Hibiki with a form of childhood cancer called retinoblastoma in both of his eyes. After several unsuccessful treatments, a doctor asked Hibiki’s parents to ‘choose his life or eyes.’ After a family discussion, they decided to save his life, and opted for surgery that removed both of the little boy’s eyes. Immediately after turning two, Hibiki became completely blind. Afterwards, ‘we spent days crying,’ Kentaro said. ‘But Hibiki’s positive will to live gave our family a ray of light. After starting to play the drums at age four, he has taught me so many things.’ After becoming blind, Hibiki developed a love for rhythm. When he finished Nintendo’s Rhythm Heaven series, he sent a letter to the company to thank them for making a game he could play. ‘When he became blind, he couldn’t even play with toys,’ Hibiki’s dad Kentaro said. ‘So he had to have fun with sounds by hitting the walls and floors at home. Then, we remembered that a friend in the neighborhood owns a drum set. When Hibiki was 3, we had him try it, and he was really excited by its powerful sound. Since then, he started telling us that he wants to play the drums.’ When he turned four, he started taking drumming lessons. Here’s the letter Hibiki sent to Nintendo, asking them to make more games that visually impaired people can enjoy: ‘Dear Nintendo, How do you do. My name is Hibiki Sakai, and I am in 5th grade. I cannot see with my eyes, but I have always wanted to play games, just like everybody else. There were hardly any games I could play. The only game I could actually play was Rhythm Heaven. I was able to enjoy only this game with others, and no one could beat me in this game. I have perfected the game on Game Boy Advance, Game Boy DS, Wii, and 3DS. Therefore, I strongly hope you keep making Rhythm Heaven going forward. I can handle it, even if you made it a little bit harder!!I am sure that there are many visually impaired kids besides me who want to but cannot play games. That is why I hope you develop games that people with physical disabilities can enjoy with other people. I will continue to support Nintendo. From: Hibiki Sakai’ Hibiki got a reply from Nintendo, in Braille… and in Japanese text (here’s the translation): ‘Thank you for writing to us. We are extremely happy to hear that you enjoyed and perfected all the games in our Rhythm Heaven series. Hibiki, your letter will be shared with our game developing team. We will keep doing our best to create games that everyone can have fun with. We hope you will keep supporting us.’ Hibiki’s correspondence with Nintendo has gotten more than 22,000 likes and a lot of positive responses on Twitter. ‘Hibiki was very surprised and happy about it,’ his father said. ‘He also says that now, he has something to look forward to, because he can see the possibility of a new Rhythm Heaven coming out, though no such plans have been released yet. As parents, we were truly surprised to get a prompt and sincere response to a letter written by a child. Regardless of whether a new version is released or not, we were very happy that the letter brought hope to Hibiki. Hibiki taught us that people are not unfortunate because of their disabilities, rather, the heart that is weakened by the disabilities is unfortunate. By changing his blindness from a fate to a mission, he fights on everyday toward a big goal of becoming a drummer who can bring courage & hope to the world.’ Rock on, Hibiki!”, from Buzzfeed, link above!