Check out the FingerReader, demoed above. It’s a project coming out of MIT that makes use of a small camera inside a slightly oversized ring housing. It feeds its output to software that can identify the words, then speak them aloud to the user in real time.
Blind or otherwise visually impaired people can now read books without needing to learn braille, which is likened here to learning a new language, requiring daily practice.
Small, vibrating motors embedded in the ring whir to life to notify the user if his or her finger should stray too far away from the target text and when they hit the end of a line of text.
Such empowering functionality in such a portable form factor is sure to have a variety of applications apart from your standard leisure reading. Just consider what one guy told the Huffington Post:
For Jerry Berrier, 62, who was born blind, the promise of the FingerReader is its portability and offer of real-time functionality at school, a doctor’s office and restaurants.
“When I go to the doctor’s office, there may be forms that I wanna read before I sign them,” Berrier said.
He said there are other optical character recognition devices on the market for those with vision impairments, but none that he knows of that will read in real time.
Here’s a demo video from MIT’s Fluid Interfaces Group: