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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

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.