FingerReader, a ring-like device (wearable gadget) that straps itself around your finger and reads printed text out loud with a synthesized voice. According to the recent study of the Royal National Institute of the Blind in the year 2011 in UK, the researchers found that merely seven percent of the published books are available in large-print, as an audio-book or in braille alphabets, including titles available in these formats as eBooks. MIT now wants to change this situation in the United States with their FingerReader project. The “Finger Reader” is a prototype wearable gadget developed by the MIT researchers from fluid interface Department of the Institute of science. This gadget could help visually impaired people read printed texts in books and also on electronice devices like Kindle eReader, hence opening up additional possibilities to them. For a practical demonstration, see the video below and find more details.
The Finger Reader is equipped with a camera and can be worn as a ring. The gadget itself is plasticine and weighs no more than a regular ring. The camera recognizes text and its software analayses it and converts this text into sound and so makes this smart ring as your very own personal reader. The text up to a size of 12 point is detected by this gadget, which can then be read aloud by it.
FingerReader not only takes the printed text very clearly in its stride but also have no problems with displays of different devices like (eBook Readers, Kindle etc.) and even as a prototype, it already has the problems of blind people under control. The FingerReader is smart enough to recognize when the reader slips and deviates from the line of text and offers feedback to adjust the hand movement, and it also knows when the end of the line is reached.
Shilkrot, a Ph.D student and a researcher at MIT’s Media Labs, said in an interview that he didn’t envision the final version of the ‘Finger Reader’ to be only for people with sight difficulties. He said it was for people with “disability, ability, and superability,” and suggested a scenario in which the Finger Reader translated text in another different language, which would make the FingerReader a useful companion when traveling abroad. it could also evolve into a gadget that can simply read the text aloud and can be used by people who don’t have any visual impairments. It is however, not yet clear when the FingerReader will be available on commercial bases.