Yesterday afternoon, the DC-based design company Eone launched a Kickstarter Campaign for their revolutionary new watch. Their Bradley timepiece is sleek, attractive, and designed to be usable for everyone–especially the blind.
The watch makes use of strong magnets to tell time with ball bearings. The user can feel the ball bearings in relation to raised marks on the watch in order to tell time. If the user pushes the bearings too hard, they will roll around the track–but this is an intentional part of the design. A simple flick of the watch will return the ball bearing to its original position, ensuring accurate timekeeping.
Why is a tactile watch necessary? Couldn’t a talking watch or a regular watch with the glass cover removed do the job? People with visual impairments have struggled with these halfhearted solutions for years. Talking watches are hard to hear in crowded locations. Even in quiet situations, such as business meetings, there’s no way to discreetly check the time when everyone around you can hear your watch. Removing the glass cover of traditional watches to “feel” the time presents problems as well, as watch hands can be inadvertently moved or broken by touching them. Eone’s solution is simple yet effective; it ensures discreet and accurate timetelling. Sighted people can also benefit from this possibility,as a tactile watch can be useful in dark environments. Furthermore, being able to discreetly tell the time can be useful in overly long business meetings or social engagements.
The Bradley got its name from Lt. Bradley Snyder, a man who lost his vision while serving the United States Navy in Afghanistan. Snyder refuses to let his vision impairment restrict him: “I am not going to let my blindness build a brick wall around me. I’d give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done, and what I can still do.” Determined not to let his injury slow him down, Snyder began training for the Paralympics. Because he did not consider himself particularly strong or tall, he decided to succeed “just by working harder than everyone else.” He is now a gold medal winning Paralympic swimmer. Eone decided to name their timepiece after him, recognizing his determination by creating technology that helps him maintain his independence. Check out the inspirational video below to learn more about Snyder’s story:
This technology is incredibly exciting because of how inclusive it is. Instead of being a watch designed purely for the seeing or for the blind, it can be used by all. The design is modern, sleek and minimalist. It’s an attractive watch that can be worn by anyone. We’re not the only ones to be excited about it. The innovative design and attractive aesthetics have made the Eone kickstarter campaign incredibly successful. In just one day, the company has made well over twice its goal of $40,000. At the time of this writing, 627 people had pledged over $100,000 toward the production of the Bradley timepieces. There’s still time to get your own by pledging money toward the cause on their Kickstarter page. Life Labs is proud to support Eone’s inclusive design!