The brilliant people from MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces team have developed a 3D-printed device that allows blind people to read any text they want without it needing to be in Braille.

Numerous books, magazines, newspapers, restaurant menus, and similar texts in many public places are not available in Braille. This makes it difficult for a lot of blind people to access this textual information without someone’s help. FingerReader could change this, because it allows blind people to read regular text.

The 3D-printed device attaches directly to the person’s finger. They run their finger along the line of text and FingerReader reads it to them. It also vibrates to alert them, if they move away from the line of text or if the line is finished. It can also read from computer screens or from a reading device such as a Kindle!

While it is a prototype and the technology still needs to be refined (i.e. the voice that reads to you still sounds very much like a robot), it’s a very promising new development for the estimated 285 million visually impaired people worldwide (of which 39 million are approximated to be completely blind).
We hope it evolves into a useful tool for the blind and goes into mass production like a boss!