FingerReader: Reading Without Braille
by GamerFitnation on July 8, 2014 at 04:44 PM EDT

For three years, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been working  to bring a new piece of technology to the blind and visually impaired. Dubbed the FingerReader, this device fits around a persons index finger and reads text back to them, in real time,  as they scan their finger along the words. The FingerReader comes with a vibration motor that lets the reader know when their finger is not in line with the words they are reading. It also has an alert system to help readers stay on track and to notify them when they are at the beginning or end of a text.

The FingerReader will not serve as a means to do away with Braille, but rather help out in more personal matters such as reading menu’s at restaurants, paperwork, contracts, some vending machines,  regular print books, and other materials that do not have any Braille on them. Current electronic readers for people with low vision have to scan text and process it before they are able to read it back to the reader. The fact that the FingerReader is able to relay text back to the reader in real time is a huge leap for developers.  As of now, the only text the FingerReader has problems reading are texts on tablets and other touch screen devices due to the fact that touching the screen causes the text to move.



While the team has come a long way and has a prototype of the FingerReader, there is still a lot of work to be done before we will see FingerReaders on the market. So much work that there isn’t an estimated price for the device yet. MIT does plan to make the FingerReader as affordable as possible though and the fact that the prototype can currently be created using a 3-D printer helps in their plans.

By Jen Galik


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