Korea-based startup Dot Inc. rolls out a new tactile braille display that is compatible with iPhones and iPads. The tool, called Dot Pad, is currently available to developer communities.
The tool is also compatible with Apple’s built-in screen reader called VoiceOver. People with blindness or visual impairment can use the tool for a tactile display of images and texts from Apple devices.
“Many blind/visually impaired users around the world rely on iPhone and iPad, thanks to the industry-leading screen reader VoiceOver,” said Dot Inc. co-founder. Eric Ju Yoon Kim in a statement. “We are very pleased that Dot’s tactile technology is now optimized for VoiceOver and will increase digital accessibility. In addition to speech or literary Braille, these users can now feel and improve their understanding of images.”
WHY IT MATTER
Visual impairment or blindness affects 3.4 million people in the US over the age of 40, According to the CDC. The agency estimates that about 80 million people in the US have “potentially blinding eye disease.” These conditions include cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
The total cost of visual impairment, including treatment and loss of productivity, is approximately $35 million.
dot inc. presents its technology as a way to help developers create new technologies for people with visual impairments.
“My wish is that many global developers within Apple’s ecosystem can use this API to develop games, entertainment and educational apps that are compatible with our tactile display,” said Ki Kwang Sung, co-founder of Dot Inc., in a statement. “There is a growing opportunity for blind/visually impaired users to connect through visual games and educational tools.”
THE BIGGER TREND
Many large tech companies have come to focus on the accessibility space. In In May 2021, Apple released a slew of new software features designed for people with mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities. The SignTime feature allows users to communicate in sign language with AppleCare and Retail Customer Care. The AssistiveTouch allows users to navigate through a cursor on the screen using gestures.
In September, Google introduced new Android features intended to help people with speech and motor disabilities navigate a smartphone.