The FingerReader ring has been designed by researchers at MIT’s Media Lab in hopes that people with visual disabilities will be able to have the freedom and independence to read printed text or electronic devices.

The device will be worn on the index finger and will be an audio reading device.  This allows immediate and affordable access to printed texts. The FingerReader, produced by a 3D printer at the prototype stage, fits just like a ring.  It has a small camera that scans text and feeds out an audio voice that reads the words aloud.  Books, menus, and other written text needed for daily life, can be accessed quickly.

Now those who can’t read regular print can gain access to a whole new world of reading.  Special software can follow finger movements, read words and process information.  A vibration motor alerts readers when they go away from the script.  An amazing piece of kit really!

MIT Finger Ring Reader

Jerry Berrier, aged 62, was born blind.  The FingerReader will allow him freedom he never had before.  “When I go to the doctor’s office, there may be forms that I wanna read before I sign them,” he stated.  Although there are other word recognition devices, this is the first he knows of that reads in real time.

Berrier also states: ”Everywhere we go, for folks who are sighted, there are things that inform us about the products that we are about to interact with. I wanna be able to interact with those same products, regardless of how I have to do it.”

The technology has taken three years to develop and many designs have been experimented with.  There are still bits that need to be worked out, such as reading mobile phone messages.

There are over 11.2 million people in the United States alone, who suffer with vision impairment and so this product will be greatly received.

Currently, reading technology has to process script before it can be read aloud by software installed on computers or smartphones.  This will work in real time.  Although it is an amazing technology, it will not replace Braille.

There were many challenges developers faced.  For one, readers had to know when material began and finished.  There are now audio cues that process essential information and allow a vibration motor to be set off.

Although papers, books, magazines, newspapers, computer screens and other devices, can be read by the FingerReader, it seems to have problems reading touch screens.  An obvious problem in today’s growing ‘smart’world.  Researchers are currently working on a solution to this problem.  “Any tool that we can get that gives us better access to printed material helps us to live fuller, richer, more productive lives’” Berrier said.

[Image via newsfeed.time]

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/high-tech-fingerreader-reads-to-the-blind-in-real-time-1.2699641