Tactile watch for blind shows time with ball bearings

Part of a Kickstarter campaign, the beautifully designed Bradley wristwatch makes reading the time as easy as touching its face.

Bradley watch
Kickstarter

Here's something tremendously useful that you'd imagine would have been invented a long time ago: a robust, intuitive watch for blind people that can easily be read by touch.

The Bradley timepiece concept indicates the time with moving ball bearings -- one on the side of the case for the hour and one on the face for the minutes.

The simplicity of the idea also appeals to sighted people. After only a single day on Kickstarter, it has more than doubled its $40,000 fundraising goal and is fast approaching $100,000.

Tactile watches, along with timepieces that announce the time, are already available, but Eone Timepieces, which created the Bradley, notes that they require lifting up a cover to feel the hands, which can be delicate.

There have been many concepts for so-called Braille watches, but few are as intuitive as the Bradley.

Conceived by MIT Sloan School of Management graduate Hyungsoo Kim, the Bradley was named for Bradley Snyder, a gold-medal Paralympic swimmer who lost his sight in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy.

It's got a sturdy titanium face and a magnetic mechanism that keeps the bearings in place while allowing them to wiggle a bit when touched.

The face features raised markers for the hour positions, and the time is adjustable via the crown at three o'clock. Check out a demo here.

Available for $128 on Kickstarter, the Bradley is also being billed as a handy watch for sighted people because it lets you tell the time without looking at it. You don't have to break away from a tedious conversation for a potentially embarrassing glance at your wrist; a surreptitious touch is all you need.

With its good looks and out-of-the-box functionality, the Bradley introduces a rugged new way of "touching" time. It goes to show that you don't need luxury mechanical timepieces, as seen in the gallery below, to be innovative.

 

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