A team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a device that would make reading exponentially easier for people who are visually impaired. The gadget is an audio reading device that is worn on the index finger and reads aloud.
Called the FingerReader, the team created a prototype using a 3D printer. It fits on the finger like a ring and has a small camera attached to scan the text. A synthesized voice reads the text aloud, making daily situations, like reading menus, newspapers and books, much easier.
When the finger is pointed at text, software in the ring tracks movement while it identifies words and processes information. FingerReader is also equipped with vibration motors that alerts users when their fingers stray too far from the text.
Pattie Maes, the MIT professor who founded Fluid Interfaces, the research group developing FingerReader, said the device is like "reading with the tip of your finger and it's a lot more flexible, a lot more immediate than any solution that they have right now."
The team is currently working on making FingerReader work with mobile phones and hopes to make the final product affordable to consumers, but they do not have an estimated price yet.