Finger Reader Visual Aid

One of the problems with Braille is that it’s typically printed in special books. Generally, such books are only available from bookstores and libraries that cater to the blind. Now there is the finger reader visual aid and it can go anywhere.

The Finger Reader, from MIT provides visually impaired readers with a wearable ring that can scan written text and read it out loud for them. Basically their finger, through the wearable device of the finger reader visual aid becomes like an audio book.

How does it work?

Created by MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, the small device features an on-board camera and can be worn on the index finger. As readers trace lines of text with their finger, the camera uses complex algorithms to determine the words and lines on the page and processes them through a text-to-speech engine to recite each word out loud to the reader.

If the reader’s finger begins to veer away from the line they’re on, the ring delivers haptic feedback to guide them in the right direction. Similarly, a small vibration lets them know they’ve reached the end of a line. When moving to a new line, the device compares the words it’s already processed to make sure it doesn’t repeat a piece of text.

A working prototype has been created of the Finger Reader, but it’s still in the early stages of development. Might be a good product to bring to market.

Check out the video

FingerReader – Wearable Text-Reading Device from Fluid Interfaces on Vimeo.

How many people could benefit from this device?

Approximately half a million Canadians are estimated to be living with significant vision loss that impacts their quality of life. In fact, in Ontario alone, the census information indicates 186 thousand people have no sight or are considered legally blind.