Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Apple Watch helps blind people navigate

The Sydney Morning Herald reports: [edited]

Molly Watt - who is deaf and blind - says the Apple Watch has transformed her ability to navigate around town by giving her directions through a series of vibrations on the wrist.

"12 taps means turn right at the junction or three pairs of two taps means turn left," she wrote on her blog. "I'm still experimenting with this but so far very impressed".

The Apple Watch's new feature is called the "taptic engine", which produces what Apple calls "haptic feedback". Haptics, derived from the Greek haptikos, refers to any form of interaction or communication by touch. The watch's engine allows wearers to set vibrations for various alerts and at adjustable intensity - or to send messages by taps to other users.

Ms Watt says the integration of haptics with the watch's map function is "definitely awesome for me as a deafblind person". It allows her to be directed around London's complex web of streets and alleys without hearing or sight.

Her review after five days of using the device is not entirely glowing - the audio could be louder, she says, and the price point more accessible. But "the positives far outweigh the negatives" overall.

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