Wednesday 9 April 2014

A watch for blind people, being bought by sighted people

Pic: Kickstarter                   
The Bradley Timepiece, a watch designed for blind people and named after Bradley Snyder, a Paralympian gold medallist who lost his sight in Afghanistan, is up for design of the year at London's Design Museum. But it's mostly being bought by sighted people, writes Chris Stokel-Walker at the BBC.

Designed to touch and see, 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.

Realising that less than 10% of visually impaired people can read braille, with a constant battle between functionality and producing a beautiful object, the designers eventually found a solution - a magnet underneath the metal watch face would control two rotating ball bearings for hours and minutes.

Snyder became involved because of his need to use a watch that did not highlight him as someone with a special need. “I love the idea of using the same thing that everyone does. And I want to feel as normal as possible."

With the watch now named the Bradley, there was an appeal on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website, in July last year - 3,681 people from 65 different countries backed the project, donating a total of $594,602 (£357,290). It will be available for sale from May in the US, with the UK and Europe likely to follow later. According to the BBC, a further 1,000 people have since pre-ordered the watch online but only 1-2% are visually impaired….

A great example of thinking outside the box, breaking away from the erroneous stereotype that visually impaired people are not fashion-conscious...

More details and pics on the Kickstarter site

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