Innovation for Independence


Publish date:
15/01/2015 - 11:54am
Last updated:
15/01/2015 - 8:04pm

This product enables blind people to use any watch they want. It attaches to the back of any watch face. You press the clock face down onto the Timepeice to tell the time through a series of vibrations that you feel on your wrist. Products made and tailored for blind people are limited because there is not a huge market for it however there is a demand for it. The products available are designed for function not form. Why should someone who is blind have to wear and use something that doesn’t look great just because they can’t see it when others can? The TimePiece attaches to the back of any watch face, press the clock face down to tell the time via vibrations. The Time Piece is a Small, round, thin device that attaches to the back of a watch face to vibrate the time to you. A short vibration indicates one minute, a medium vibration indicates five minute, a long vibration indicates 10 minute. The time is vibrated in 3 sections the first being the hours, then the minutes and then the individual minutes. If it is PM then a short vibration followed by a medium one. As an example - The first three short vibrations indicate three hours, the next 2 long vibrations indicate 20 minutes and the last medium vibration indicates 5 minutes. Therefore the time is 3:25.

Insight & Impact

A great conversation with a friend of mine led to the direction this project took. My friend Mylo has been blind since the age of 4. “Just because I can’t see something doesn’t change the fact that others can.” - Mylo Northwood, 41. The TimePiece enables blind people to buy branded watches where as previously they would not have been able to use these. There are two types of watches on the market right now for the visually impaired - Tactile and audio watches. Audio watches are often inaudible in busy loud spaces and can be disruptive. Tactile watches can be challenging as you have to open the watch face and feel the hands which is not very subtle and they can break easily. Function in a watch for the blind is clearly the most important feature but design should not be disregarded. Blind people should be able to express their own individual personalities like everyone else does. Through a survey I conducted I found out that most people wear a watch as an accessory more than as a time piece. For a blind person its an essential item.

Skills needed for this project

  • Manufacturing of the product to be able to get it as small as it needs to be to fit onto the back of most watch faces.