For the 2.8% of the population who are visually impaired, braille allows the fingers to do the reading that the eyes can’t through tactile feeling. However, the amount of books and printed material that are actually translated into braille is only 7% of the material available not even to mention the various signs in offices, hospitals, and restaurants for example, leaving a vast deficiency for those unable to read what is around them. So, MIT Media Lab came up with the FingerReader, a wearable camera attached to the finger that reads for you.
FingerReader works simply by tracing the baseline of the text on the page, much as you would when normally reading. While the device is just a proof of concept prototype, the device works remarkably well. Worn like a ring on the finger, the camera views the word that is traced, and using algorithms to understand what it is reading. As the word is traced, FingerReader reads the word aloud, then vibrates if the reader needs to lift their finger up or down, or even if they have reached the end of a line. Even smarter though, is that FingerReader learns as it reads, providing haptic feedback to ensure that it is working as well as it should.
Besides being used for those who are visually impaired, FingerReader hosts a number of other possibilities for its technology. By tracing each word and reading it aloud, FingerReader works incredibly well for those learning a second language.