Samsung files hundreds of patent applications every year across the world. While most of them are very technical whose use cases may not be immediately apparent, some are relatively simple with a fairly obvious use case. Samsung’s ‘Electronic apparatus for inputting braille and operating method thereof’ patent filed in South Korea in March last year is of the latter kind with a revealing title.
The patent describes a method for blind people to input text through braille, using the rotating bezel on a smartwatch. It enables braille input by allowing the user to control the input position in the six-point braille character by rotating the bezel. When companies are increasingly relying on voice-based interaction models to make their products and services more accessible to people with disabilities, it appears Samsung is exploring and investing in other approaches as well.
No other major brand is currently offering a bezel-based navigation option on its smartwatches. Given the small size of the smartwatch screens, Samsung’s rotatable bezel is found be useful and convenient at times by many users. Using the same mechanism for innovative and meaningful features like the braille input will only make it more unique and desirable to more users.
We don’t know if Samsung is planning to incorporate this technology into its future smartwatches. It is worth remembering that not all patents turn into commercial products. Patents also tend to be more complex than what a simplified overview suggests. So, do read the complete application here (in Korean) if you wish to understand it in-depth.