E-one Time has come up with a new and innovative timepiece for the visually impaired – the Bradley Timepiece.
Prior to the designing of the Bradley, there were two alternatives for the blind to tell the time. The first, a watch that tells the time out loud. You could hold down a button and hold the watch to your ear, then it would unsubtly tell you the time; however, this came with many social problems for the user. Jeffrey Drucker, visually impaired, says, “Blind people want to be able to check the time without having the whole world know that we’re checking the time.” There was also problems when in busy situations, such as, in a subway station it was difficult to hear the voice, making the user feel lost and not know what the time is. The second alternative is an analogue watch which allows the user to lift the glass face and feel the time; this often proved inaccurate information as the hands would move too much. “Current solutions fall behind the blind’s needs” said E-one Time.
Together, Project Dots and Universal design created a watch to appeal to all, no matter their sight ability, making day-to-day life possible without drawing attention to their disability. The designer, Hyungsoo Kim, CEO E-one Time, Washington, says, “I designed the timepiece while studying at MIT, this is a timepiece not a watch. You don’t have to watch this to tell the time.”
The timepiece has gently protruding markings indicating numbers, with 2 magnetic ball bearings that denote the hours and minutes of the day by moving around the timepiece. The watch works by touch, you can feel the titanium surface and the location of the two ball bearings. The outside ball tells hours, the inside – minutes, and both are connected to magnets underneath, meaning if the balls are moved out of place, they will always return to where they should be!
The watch was designed with the needs for the visually impaired but also to appeal to those who can see. Checking the time can often be embarrassing or seen as rude. Hyungsoo said, “The Bradley is also great for when in meetings, interviews, classroom, dinner with the in-laws when you want to check the time, without appearing rude and looking at a watch.”
The E-one watch was named ‘The Bradley Timepiece’ after US Paralympian Bradley Snyder. Bradley, 30, was serving in the US Navy in Afghanistan when he lost his vision in an IED explosion, a home-made bomb made and deployed in a non-conventional way. After losing his vision Bradley said, “I’m going to show people that I’m not going to let this beat me. I’m not going to let blindness build a brick wall around me. I am going to find a way forward.” And he did!
Snyder trained hard and competed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games for the USA, where he won two gold medals and silver in the 100M, 400M and 50M Freestyles. Bradley was keen to try and continue as normal as possible after his accident, “I was fiercely independent for a long time, I don’t like asking for help and so every time that I have the opportunity to find a new method or a new technique or technology that enables me to something autonomously, it’s very exciting and I gain that autonomy back a little bit.”
E-one were eager to get feedback from those who would benefit from the timepiece the most. “Along with many visually impaired users, Brad has supported and provided invaluable feedback through the development of our timepiece.” CEO Hyungsoo Kim, and all of the feedback seemed positive, with many blind people being able to tell the time straight away.
The Bradley Timepiece went on sale in the US in May at around $275 and should soon be available to buy in the UK and Europe.
Because telling time shouldn’t require sight!