Reading is one of the most relaxing and cherished activities. What can be more pleasant than standing in a comfortable armchair, sipping a hot cup of tea and enjoying a good book? For centuries, books have been faithful companions to people.
However, what happens when someone is unable to read? There are people whose eye problems make it hard or even impossible for them to read without resorting to special, Braille books. However, not all books have versions that can be read by visually impaired people. In order to solve this problem, MIT Media Lab created an impressive new device called the FingerReader. It reads the text back to the person using it.
The FingerReader can read any text aloud, thus allowing people with sight problems to have access to any book they want. This device aims to replace audio-visual software which can often prove limited and even inaccurate. Using the ring like device, the user is able to scan a text line with his finger. At the same time the FingerReader gives audio feedback which means the text line is being read aloud. Using other cues, the device will alert the reader when it reaches the start or end of a line. If the user veers off the line, the FingerReader gives feedback that helps maintain a straight scanning motion.
At the moment, the FingerReader is in its development stage. Certain aspects such as the lack of speed and the impossibility to add headphones must be address. However, in time, the device could replace audio-visual software. What’s more, it could be turned into a translation device that could help people learn better and communicate with more ease in a foreign language.
Once it is improved, the FingerReader could become an easy to use device for visually impaired people. Do you think it will be able to replace audio-visual software and Braille books?