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Finger-Mounted Reading Device For the Blind

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The finger-worn device in action.

Researchers have created a finger-worn device with a built-in camera that can convert text to speech for the visually impaired.

Credit: MIT News

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a prototype of a finger-mounted device with a built-in camera that converts written text into audio for visually impaired users.

The device provides either tactile or audible feedback that guides the user's finger along a line of text, generating the corresponding audio in real time.

The researchers will present a paper describing the device at the ACM CHI 2015 conference, which takes place next week in Seoul, Korea.

The paper also reports on the results of a usability study conducted with vision-impaired volunteers, during which the researchers tested several variations of the device. One test involved two haptic motors that vibrate to indicate whether the user should raise or lower the tracking finger. A different test used a musical tone that increased in volume if the user's finger drifted away from the line of text.

The researchers also tested the motors and musical tone in combination, but found no consensus among the subjects on which types of feedback were the most useful.

Going forward, the researchers are focusing on audio feedback because it allows for a smaller, lighter-weight sensor.

The software for the device initially was developed for use on a laptop, but the researchers are developing a version that runs on a smartphone in order to increase portability.

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2015 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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