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NYP develops wearable tech to improve road safety for the deaf

Zafirah Salim | Sept. 21, 2015
Called the BRACER Watch, it is designed for those hard of hearing; and vibrates and lights up when it picks up loud audio signals like car horns and fire alarms.

Staff and students of Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) students have come together to develop a watch that vibrates and lights up when it picks up loud audio signals like car horns and fire alarms.

Called the BRACER Watch, it is specially designed for those hard of hearing, with an aim of helping them enhance their safety on the road, according to a joint media statement from NYP, The Goodwater Company and The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf).

Licensed to social enterprise The Goodwater Company, the BRACER Watch provides a basic digital clock function with a day and night display mode. It is also able to detect up to three levels of loud audio warning signals. In potentially hazardous scenarios, the watch will alert the user through vibrations and a flashing LED indicator. Additionally, its battery can also last up to 150 days per charge.

NYP has since rolled out a successful three-week trial on the watch with six SADeaf members. The trial participants assessed the effectiveness of the watch's alert function, and their feedback has been generally positive, said Alvan Yap, Deputy Director, SADeaf.

However, they noted that further improvements can be made in tweaking its sensitivity and loudness levels, he added.

Although the BRACER Watch is geared towards benefitting people who are deaf or hard of hearing, it is also useful for seniors and youths who may be distracted with other tasks, which can cause them to not be fully aware of their surroundings. Another potential application could be for workers who need devices indicating unsafe levels as part of workplace safety.

Sean Tan, Chief Executive Officer of The Goodwater Company said, "We are strong advocates of the importance of social and environmental impact to our businesses throughout Asia. The BRACER Watch is one such example as it is able to benefit all types of people including the deaf community. The technology used in the watch was made possible by the NYP team, and as an NYP alumnus myself, it brings me great satisfaction to learn that members of SADeaf can benefit from this collaboration."

The BRACER will be officially released on Sept 19 during the SADeaf's 60th anniversary dinner. It is expected to retail at below S$100 and there are plans to have it sold at specialty retail outlets.  

The GoodWater Company plans to give back S$50 of each watch sold to the SADeaf for the first 100 watches sold to the general public.


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