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Circuit Breaker

Fingertips Lab revives the rotary dial to give you no-look iPhone controls

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The O6 is the Bluetooth accessory nobody asked for, but it's neat anyway

Tired of looking at your phone's screen when you could, alternatively, be watching the road to make sure you're not veering into oncoming traffic? Fingertips Lab today announced the O6, a clicky little rotary dial that gives you "no looking required" control of an iPhone or iPad over Bluetooth. The device harkens back to the BlackBerry's jog dial — the de facto method for skimming through email before Apple introduced momentum scrolling — but with one important bonus: there's an app.

O6 is just a little disc that you can twist and click, but when paired with the O6 app, it gives you an eyes-free way to work through your emails, tweets, and podcasts without looking, using text-to-speech. The app has AI to give you "contextual" actions to reply to an email, which looks like a process that requires a lot of patience and luck based on the official video demo of the device, but we'll have to try it out to know for sure.

While O6's utility for distracted drivers seems dubious or possibly even self-defeating, it seems like an obvious win for someone who is blind or visually impaired. The tactile interface should pair nicely with Apple's already-pretty-great-but-touchscreen-constrained accessibility features.

O6 can be mounted to your steering wheel, clipped to a piece of clothing, or placed flat on the table. There's an "early-bird" price of $89 (yeah, it's a Kickstarter, are you surprised?), and there's a suggested retail price of $149 when / if it ships in February of next year.