New watch that helps alert the deaf to danger

(From left) Mr Alvan Yap, deputy director of the Singapore Association for the Deaf,  Mr Sean Tan, CEO of Goodwater, and Mr Wong Chee Chein, Nanyang Polytechnic lecturer,with Bracer watches.
(From left) Mr Alvan Yap, deputy director of the Singapore Association for the Deaf, Mr Sean Tan, CEO of Goodwater, and Mr Wong Chee Chein, Nanyang Polytechnic lecturer,with Bracer watches.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - The Bracer, a watch that alerts users who are deaf or hard of hearing to danger, is being launched this Saturday at the 60th anniversary dinner for the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf).

The device detects noises above 95 decibels, such as car horns or fire alarms, and alerts users by vibrating and flashing lights.

In noisy environments, it can be adjusted todetect only sounds above 100 or 115 decibels.

The watch has a battery life of between 100 and 150 days on a single charge.

Initially conceptualised in 2009 by staff and students from the School of Engineering at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) as a device that would plug into smartphones and alert headphone users to emergency noises, it was further developed into a wristwatch form in 2010.

It wonawards from the Institution of Engineers Singapore and the International Convention for Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology.

NYP was granted a patent for the technology in 2010 and signed a licencing agreement in 2014 for the device with local firm The GoodWater Company, which is currently selling the initial batch of 100 Bracer watches for $200 each, with $50 from each sale going to SADeaf.

Mr Sean Tan, Chief Executive Officer of the GoodWater Company said that the price of the watch once mass produced has not been confirmed, but added that affordability was a key concern.

The GoodWater Company, which helps organisations develop their corporate social responsibility programmes, has signed cooperation agreements with deaf associations in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia to distribute the watch.

It also hopes to market the device to the elderly and as a workplace safety device in the construction sector and other high noise industrial settings.