Scientists of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing an audio reading device, so that visually impaired people can access the text directly. And this equipment called FingerReader is prototypes created by 3D printers, like a ring with a small camera which designed for scanning text, and can be worn on the finger of the user. With FingerReader, when you leave your home or office, it is able to reads the text out loud for you, as well as quickly translates books, restaurant menus, or other information needed in daily life.
Pattie Maes, MIT professor,founder and leader of Fluid Interfaces research team which developed prototypes, she said FingerReader like “Using your fingertips to read is more directly and more flexible than other solutions to help visually impaired people to read now.”
Roy Shilkrot, who participate in the development of this equipment in MIT Media Lab introduced, FingerReader is use special software to track the movement of the finger, identifying words and the information obtained. When users deviate from the read text or the beginning and end of the document, the vibration motor that device equipped with will remind readers. After the three-years software coding for the development of this invention , programmers tried a variety of design and research feedback to visually impaired persons test, although some achievement have been gained, there are still a lot of works to do before it truly market-oriented, including its usage on mobile phones.
Currently scanning technology for home and office is very cumbersome which is recognize text by installing software on your computer or smart phone, before the device read out the text, the software must process the appropriate text. FingerReader can read newspapers, magazines, computer screens and other devices, but still have some problems for the text on touch screen device, as erratic results will produced as the text will move when fingertip touching the screen, but if disable the touch screen feature,this problem can be eliminated.
According to the estimation of U.S. Census Bureau, there are 1,120 visually impaired people in U.S, so FingerReader has a large potential market. The price, Shilkrot said, has not been determined, but will be a reasonable price to the public. Moreover, the emergence of FingerReader will not replace Braille, on the contrary, FingerReader does not support the reading of Braille.
If FingerReader can be embarked on the market at an affordable price, then it will become a key tool to help the visually impaired people to integrate into the modern information economy, and also will make their life more fulfilling, rich and efficient.