To help visually impaired people, IIT Kanpur has developed an affordable novel touch-sensitive smartwatch. Featuring health parameters such as heart rate, SpO2 etc, instant short-timer, hydration reminder and others, the cost-effective smart watch comes with a touch-sensitive tactile interface that displays information using vibrations. This makes it more suitable for usage as compared to audio-based output devices available in the market.
India is home to about 20% of the total around 49 million blind and 285 million visually impaired persons in the world. The haptic smartwatch by IIT Kanpur is aimed to address the difficulty faced by visually impaired persons in easily interacting with devices due to the absence of tactile interface.
Equipped with modern techniques, the haptic smartwatch has been developed by Prof. Siddhartha Panda, Department of Chemical Engineering, and Vishwaraj Srivastava at the National Centre for Flexible Electronics, IIT Kanpur. Haptics deals with the technology that stimulates the sense of touch.
Features of haptic smartwatch
The haptic smartwatch also features “smart timer”, which is used to set short-timers using simple gestures. The dial face consisting vibration-based output and tactile touch-sensitive hour markers is used to create an interface to select different apps, to read time, haptically recognize different apps, and to sense the numbers.
To read health parameters such as the heart rate and SpO2, the haptic smartwatch has sensor like PPG (Photoplethysmography). To measure the step count and to keep track of daily activity, the smartphone is equipped with an accelerometer.
Users will be able to read all these parameters by using the haptic menu. The haptic smartwatch has a special feature called a “smart timer” which is used to set short timers using a simple and unique gesture.
Congratulating Professor Panda, and Vishwaraj Srivastava, for this invention, Abhay Karandikar, director IIT Kanpur, said that it is our objective at IIT Kanpur to make innovations inclusive for all.
Professor Karandikar is hopeful that the newly developed haptic smartwatch will be a boon for the blind and the visually impaired.
“The touch-sensitive and vibration-based features would prove to be revolutionary in giving the sense of time to the blind and the visually impaired,” says Professor Karandikar.