This Ring Scans Text and Reads it Aloud for Visually Impaired People

By Gizmodo on at

No braille? No problem! This FingerReader by the Fluid Interfaces Group at the MIT Media Lab is a high-tech way to help visually impaired people read; it actually scans printed text and narrates it aloud.

This short vid shows how it works from a few different angles, but basically: as a fingertip follows along in a book (or Kindle), a camera in the oversized ring records and analyses the words, which are then said in a Stephen Hawking-like voice. Haptic clues—like vibrations—are given to the user when she nears the end of a line and to note where a new one begins, as well as if she begins to drift off track.

Plus, apparently it's also a freaking translator! Imagine just running your hand along a page written in another language and being able to understand the whole thing.

Of course, it seems like a headphone jack might be a solid addition, so the sounds don't get lost in a noisy room (or bug others in a quiet setting), and it might be tough to take in a whole novel like this, but it seems like it's got awesome potential. [Fluid Interfaces Group]