MIT researchers have created a gadget that can read to the blind

The brainy folks over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have done it yet again, having come up with an audio reading device which is meant to be worn on the index finger of someone who suffers from a certain degree of visual impairment, which would provide them with affordable as well as instant access to the printed word, which will be a vast difference from the world of Braille, that is for sure. This audio reading device is known as the FingerReader, where a 3D printer rolled out the first prototype. The FingerReader works this way, it will feature a tiny camera that is capable of scanning text as you wear it around your finger. Of course, do not expect it to read back in a nice, soothing voice that you’re used to on TV, but rather, listen to a synthesized voice that will read out words aloud, making it a snap to translate whatever books, restaurant menus and other reading materials that one comes across in everyday life.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words. The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office. Reading is as easy as pointing the finger at text. Special software tracks the finger movement, identifies words and processes the information. The device has vibration motors that alert readers when they stray from the script, said Roy Shilkrot, who is developing the device at the MIT Media Lab. For Jerry Berrier, 62, who was born blind, the promise of the FingerReader is its portability and offer of real-time functionality at school, a doctor’s office and restaurants. “When I go to the doctor’s office, there may be forms that I wanna read before I sign them,” Berrier said. He said there are other optical character recognition devices on the market for those with vision impairments, but none that he knows of that will read in real time.


Categorized as Gadgets

By Michio Hasai

+Michio Hasai is a social strategist and car guy. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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