Hot out of the labs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a prototype audio reading device, called the “FingerReader.” The FingerReader fits on the index finger of a visually impaired individual and “reads” to him books or other written material. The FingerReader is equipped with a small camera which scans the text, and then a computerized voice “reads” it. For the visually impaired, the FingerReader will open up an entirely new world of texts: restaurant menus, newspapers and magazines, office materials, and millions of books. It also translates text so the user is free to “read” text written in a foreign language. The FingerReader is the latest invention to come out of 3-D printing, a technology that is dramatically changing the face of the world.
The FingerReader has many advantages: It is portable. No matter where the visually impaired person may find himself, he will be able to read. It is empowering. With the FingerReader a visually impaired person will be able to immediately read and understand important documents, such as a permission form at a doctor’s office, or applications at a government agency. It is a vast improvement over the optical character recognition devices that are already available to the visually impaired, because it works in real time.
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