FingerReader - Text Scanner

FingerReader from MIT – A Text Scanner Reader for Blind People

There are times when technology gives birth to certain innovations that touch the lives of many and make it much better in terms of accessibility. In this article we tell you about an upcoming wearable device from the famous MIT Media Lab that can revolutionize how blind / visually challenged people read things on the internet or on books / newspapers without the use of Braille. This device is called the FingerReader.

As the name says, this small 3D-printed device fits into your index finger and then point the finger tip towards whatever you want it to read. There is a small camera on the device and it then scans any text line and then converts it into audio using advance computer vision, digital image processing and audio processing techniques. Here is a video that demonstrated FingerReader in action:

You might ask how will a visually challenged user come to know that they have reached the end of a text line or deviated from the line. Well, FingerReader has a provision for that too. The device provides a haptic feedback to the user using vibrations when a new line starts or end of line is reached or when the user deviates from the current line while moving their finger tips across various lines of text – this will make sure that the users are able to maintain a straight line scanning motion during the process.

Here are some of the salient features and advantages of FingerReader over other existing solutions SayText, Zoomreader and TextGrabber:

  •  Speed in processing the text input and audio output
  • Works with existing smartphones
  • Advanced algorithms for effective text and line detection

More about FingerReader over here and here. You might also be interested in reading more about another such innovation called EyeNetra that reduces Eye-checkup costs substantially and brings it down to a mere US $2 per patient per check-up.

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