FingerReader: Help to real-time reading for the visually impaired

Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab are developing a solution for reading in real time for the visually impaired. The device is designed to offer a more natural and approach more intuitive reading compared with magnifiers, magnifying devices and other bulky for low vision, impractical to use scanners, especially in public places such as libraries or outdoor cafes … What to change the lives of millions of people.


FingerReader is in the form of a ring to be worn on the index. The user naturally finger tip the line of text to read and ring analyzes text in real time through an onboard camera and it instantly returns as audio using a synthesized voice. A vibration lets the user with the line breaks.

Of course there are already technologies for character recognition but as protagonists of FingerReader project, none of them is able to do in real time. This new portable technology thus offers the visually impaired to read and sign a contract, read a restaurant menu or other printed document on paper, in real time and without heavy equipment.

For now FingerReader is still in the prototype stage. Reading performed by the computer voice still resembles the first MAC launched in 1984, it is a little choppy, but its fluidity should be improved in the future. To simplify the use, researchers are working also on FingerReader connectivity with different smartphones in the market and the opportunity to work with the texts displayed on tablets and touchscreens.

FingerReader potential is not limited to the visually impaired. This technology could also be used for teaching languages to children and the real-time translation of documents.