Finger-Reader says Goodbye to Braille


Finger-Reader is a prototype developed by the Institute of technology of Massachusetts (MIT) which allows the user to recognize printed text and then play it as audio in real time, instead of using the braille system. Researchers at the MIT Media Labs developed a portable device that can read the printed text (such as the conventional books) using a synthesized voice, thus helping the blind to leave behind the Braille and its limited availability. Called Finger-Reader, ring-shaped device has a mounted camera to scan the text and read it aloud.


The system of Braille literacy through letters with relief already has nearly 190 years old and has proven to be the viable alternative so not seers is to educate them, inform and recreate reading what they cannot see. As a very interesting system because it preceded the emergence of information technology, the evolution of the latter is making Braille to run endangered. One of the most important projects to improve the reading of the blind is in charge of Finger-Reader, a device that was invented at MIT to read printed text using a ring with a camera and integrated voice engine. The result is giving that talk, and the video then gives us some clues about his work.

Its seen in the video that the device is placed on the finger and passes over the lines of text from a printed book. The camera does the job of scanning in real time each word and voice engine reads it aloud. To help that the text is read more efficiently, the device has “impulse feedback” or signals to help blind readers to keep a finger under each sentence straight sweeping motion. Finger-Reader provides a vibration signal when the finger moves away from the line of text, and it does the same when it has come to the end and at the beginning of each line of text. Does not work with less than 12-point text, so it may not read medicine bottles or summaries of credit card. In addition you can read on any flat surface, so it enables to the Finger-Reader can be used with electronic book readers.

Although slow and with much to work on reading fluency, the Finger-Reader seems to be going in the right direction towards the elimination or as availability all is an alternative to Braille, it and we know that with electronic book readers this expands considerably. Although there are no immediate plans to bring Finger-Reader to market, those responsible for the project, Roy Shilkrot and Jochen Huber, explained that these days are “aware of the costs of the devices. [However], yet we cannot say how much will cost Finger-Reader as a consumer product. The technology continues to evolve around miniaturization, stand-alone operation without cables, and connection to a PC or a smart phone”. You have to wait.

The main features are :

  • It is a ring with a tiny camera that can scan to the user designates the text with your finger, and obtain your transcript in a synthetic voice.
  • The tool is designed for people with decreased visual and is capable of detecting texts on surfaces varied as business cards or a restaurant menu.
  • During use, the Finger-Reader also detects the speed of movement of the finger, even can process the information again on the same text.
  • According to its creators, the device still in prototype stage “is focused on the development of more natural user interfaces”.

By this we mean that devices are a natural extension of the people and their behaviors. We think that carrying a camera in the index finger would be a natural interface because people naturally points to things for questions regarding, explained researchers at MIT.

The research work aimed to help people with visual disabilities, although its creators think that they could give other purposes to the ring (which is still available for sale). It could be used to help people who have problems to pronounce a Word, or for translation into other languages, or even help children learn to read. We are very interested in exploring other applications of the device, recognized its creators in an explanatory document on the investigation. Close to 2.8 per cent of the world’s population has a visual impairment, explained from MIT to analyze the context in which the technical innovation occurs.