Tech talk – Sunu band and Dot watch
A Sunu Band is an electronic bracelet that vibrates. It can detect obstacles in the environment and tell the time, among other features that are useful for deafblind people. DBV member John Hoctor trialled the Sunu Band – see two videos below, where he gives his impression of it, and navigates around the office when using the proximity sensor for the first time. He also trialled a Dot Watch, which is a braille watch that also pairs with smartphones and can receive SMS.
Transcript of video
John: The thing on my wrist is Sunu Band. It tells the time… when you swipe towards yourself. A long vibration means 5, and a short pulse means 1. I’m getting long, long, short, short. That means 5 + 5 + 1 + 1, which is 12 o’clock.
Interviewer: Does it have any other features?
John: When you walk, if the sensor is on, the band will vibrate as you approach an object. That helps you navigate around people, walls, chairs etc.
Interviewer: Do you like it? Would you use one yourself?
John: The clock is great! The proximity sensor is a little confusing. It might take some getting used to. I think it would be worth having.
Interviewer: Would you use it with a cane?
John: You must use it with a cane, yes. But for me, with the cane in one hand and the band vibrating on the other wrist, it may give mixed signals and be confusing. I expect you would need to practice.
Interviewer: Can you show us how to swipe to tell the time?
[John demonstrates inward swipe to show hour, and outward swipe to show minutes]
Interviewer: What do you have on the other wrist?
John: It’s a Dot Watch. It’s a digital clock [with refreshable braille cells]. The time now is 12:57. You can scroll down and get seconds, and it also tells me that it’s PM. A button on the side shows the date – it’s 11/12 which is the 11th of December. It also receives SMS. There are only 4 cells so it’s only good for short messages. I can see “Hi Em-“, and then i have to scroll to read more.