Finger reader to help the blind
There is good news for those visually impaired.Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device which can be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words. FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that will scan text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud and it helps in quickly translating books and other useful materials for daily needs, it is useful when one is away from home or office.
Reading is very easy by pointing the finger at text. Then a Special software tracks the finger movement and identify the words and processes the information. And one more useful feature is that the device has vibration motors that alert readers if they stray away from the script. There are other optical character recognition devices in the market for those with vision impairments, but none that he knows of that will read in real time. The development of this device has taken three years of software coding, experimenting with various designs and working on feedbacks from a test group of visually impaired people. Much work remains to be done before it gets introduced in the market. Research is going on for testing these device in mobiles also. The FingerReader would not replace Braille,instead the new device would enable users to access a vast number of books and other materials that are not currently available in Braille.
The Developers had to overcome unusual challenges to help people with visual impairments move their reading fingers along a straight line of printed text that they could not see. The users also had to be alerted at the starting and ending of the reading material. The FingerReader can read books, papers, newspapers, magazines, computer screens and other devices, but it has problems with text on a touch screen. That’s because touching the screen with the tip of the finger would move text around, producing unintended results. One solution is Disabling the touch-screen function. FingerReader is a key tool to help people with vision impairment and will help them integrate into the modern information economy.