Our Year 12 students have been designing Braille watches as part of their Product Design A Level. The students were given the brief and their prototypes were tested by Rajmund Baranyi who gave feedback on how they could be improved.
Teacher Mr Thompson said: ‘The project has been running over three weeks to get the students used to the requirements and the standard of work that we expect at A Level. We are trying to get them to work in a more design-led way and to think about the needs of the user.’
‘There are a number of solutions currently available for Braille watches which the students have researched. Most have got talking watches, but then other people can hear and the user may not want them to know they are checking the time. Tactile watches, where users feel the time, can be a problem because the hands can be knocked during use and have to be reset by a sighted person.
‘We are trying to overcome those problems in an elegant design with broad market appeal so it can be used by everybody. There have been some interesting ideas based around Braille and some of the students have looked at making more tactile watches using ways of differentiating between hours and minutes.'
Student Samuel Peace said: ‘I designed my original watch like a round clock face, then we got some constructive criticism from Rajmund who said not to use hands as it was easier for him to read Braille than a clockface. I designed my prototype from acrylic, metal and polyurethane. It incorporates dots or small pegs under a gel material and as time passes different dots pop up to signify the time.'
Student Ben Coe said: ‘Rajmund liked the layout of my original design but the strap didn’t work very well so I have re-engineered that. The hardest thing has been to try and understand the Braille system itself because the numbers are completely different. I have gained an understanding of a specific target market that is quite specialised.’
Brandon Smith added: ‘It is all about thinking outside the box, coming up with a design and making it efficient so that users don’t have to mess about with buckles and things. The design sheets helped us to come up with a range of different solutions.’