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Touch watch for visually impaired

Staff writer |
Watches designed for visually impaired people often look like any other watch but usually have a button on them that tells the time out loud.

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The reason why blind people sometimes hate such a device is that it attracts attention to them. It's like a holding up a giant spotlight to their disability. But now there's a new watch created by the company Eone Time to help people avoid the attention and just tell the time.

It's winning praise for both its different looks and for its lack of sound. It's called the Bradley Timepiece. It uses magnets, and two moving ball bearings, to allow people to tell time by touch.

It's named after retired U.S. Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder. While serving in Afghanistan he lost his sight in an IED explosion. He says that during his rehabilitation he found out that time is an integral part of life we often take for granted. "Without the ability to tell time I was often disoriented. It was hard for me to reconcile where I was, who I was and what was going on."

Mr. Snyder says that early on his family looked for a timepiece he could use. They found a good one. But it was one that read the time aloud. He didn't like it. He didn't need the reminder about his loss of vision. He was more a fan of devices and designs that are innocuous, or not noticeable.

He had a friend going to business school at MIT. That friend heard about the timepiece project by Hyungsoo Kim. Soon the mutual friend put the two together. It clicked. Snyder loved the idea of inclusive design, and Kim loved Snyder's personal story. He says they want the watch to tell a story. So when you put it on your wrist there's a greater connection to it.

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