IT is amazing that over 1000 people have pre-ordered the not yet released, Bradley Timepiece designed for blind people, but what is even more shocking is that only about 2 percent of those people are blind.
The watch, named after Bradley Snyder, a Paralympian gold medallist who lost his sight in Afghanistan, is already proving to be a tech design trail blazer not for the visually impaired but for the rest of the world. The watch has a stark, circular titanium face. There are no hands. There are no numbers. Around a groove in the centre a ball-bearing rotates to mark the minutes.
Around the edge of the watch, another ball bearing rotates to tell the hours. The watch is now among the favourites in the 76 nominations for the Designs of the Year contest at London’s Design Museum.
Designer Hyungsoo Kim, was in a class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011 when a neighbouring student asked his visually impaired classmate asked about the time. The student had a watch that could tell the time, but only by pressing a button that would make it speak out loud. Doing so in a classroom could be disruptive, so instead, Kim became his wristwatch.
This was where he got the inspiration to build a wristwatch for the blind that can be used by fashion oriented, non-braille literate, visually impaired people to tell the time without any difficulty. He obviously did a good job of it, because even those not in the target market love it!