December 23, 2015

Demo of the Time Buzz app for Apple watch to get the time using Haptic feedback.

The TimeBuzz app makes it possible to feel the current time through vibrations of the Taptic Engine on the Apple Watch. The app is designed especially for visually impaired people. With this app you can discretely get to know the current time without the need for the time to be pronounced. The app itself is completely VoiceOver accessible.

If you open the app on the Apple Watch you will see a large button with the text 'Tap to buzz the time'. When you tap this button the app will start buzzing the current time. It will translate the time into a pattern of long and short vibrations whereby it will first buzz the hours and then the minutes. In between every sequence of vibrations there will be a short pause to be able to separate the hours and minutes from each other. You will feel a distinctive vibrating buzz when opening the app and when you start the buzzing of the current time so that you know when you opened the TimeBuzz app or tapped the button on the screen.

The Big Ben buzz pattern

With this pattern a short vibration (that feels like a short tick) indicates a 1 and a double vibration indicates a o.

The hours are always in the range from 0 to 12, even in the morning or afternoon/evening. So three o'clock in the afternoon is indicated by 3 short vibrations and not 15.

The minutes are separated into tens and single digits. 24 minutes is indicated by 2 short vibrations, a short pause and then followed by 4 short vibrations.

Dom Tower buzz pattern

This pattern is similar to the Big Ben pattern but it shortens 5 single vibration into 1 longer vibration. This allows for the hours and minutes to be buzzed quicker. For example an 8 is shorted to 1 longer vibration and 3 shorter vibrations.

Notre-Dame buzz pattern

With this pattern the tens and single digits of the minutes are not buzzed separately but as one number. As with the Dom Tower pattern, a value of 5 is shortened to a longer vibration.

Time Square buzz pattern

With this pattern both the hours and minutes are separated in tens and the remainder are buzzed separately. A value of five or a multiple of that are shortened to one longer buzz. For example 16 is buzzed as 1 short vibration, a pause, followed by 1 longer vibration and 1 short vibration.

All of these patterns can either be changed via the Apple watch or on the iPhone.

In this demo, I take you through getting the app, brief run through of the iOs app, installing the app on to the Apple watch, more in-depth look at both apps, a run through of the buzz patterns, using the Time Buzz as a complication on the clock face, developer tips for using the app discreetly without VoiceOver, and where to get more contact information.

Overall tip for Apple watch usage: turn mute on, set wake on wrist raise to resume, and toggle VoiceOver off.
Go to for more information, and the developer tips on using the app on the Apple watch.

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