Snail Braille reader could read books to the blind

May 06, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- To most of us, Braille is largely a mystery. It feels really cool, but the idea of actually reading it is kind of a pipe dream. Our sense of touch simply is not as sensitive as that of a blind person. That is not a problem if you happen to have picked up a Braille book out of curiosity. If however, you have recently lost your eyesight, then this is a major problem. As with learning any new language, it takes time to adapt.

That time can be very frustrating, since writing and reading are still important forms of communication in our society. That is where a tool such as the Snail Braille reader could come in handy.

This tool takes Braille text, and by rolling over a straight line of Braille text, the machine is able to read the Braille, and then translate it into speech. The machine, which is capable of storing text for latter replay, can also be paired with a standard headset, similar to the ones you get with your cell phone. That is good news for students who want to study without having to search for the page in a book, or for people who like to hear the instructions while they are completing a task.

The machine would also feature kinetic recharging, which could possibly allow the reader to charge the device while they are using it. The only snag currently is that this device has not been created. It is currently in the design and prototype stages of development. With proper funding however, this tool could become indispensable to the newly blind.

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More information: via Yankodesign

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User comments : 7

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Kedas
3.5 / 5 (2) May 06, 2011
Can't we just skip Braille and just use camera's with OCR? Then they can read the same books as we do.
If you ask me Braille is not longer a need with current technologies.
Smellyhat
not rated yet May 06, 2011
This is an advertisement for a product which the writer hopes to develop... if he can get "proper funding." Does no-one review these stories before posting them anymore?
warmer
not rated yet May 06, 2011
I'm with Kedas on this. OCR and normal books where my first thought. Why go backwards if you don't need to. Anyone ever heard of books on tape? We even have them in mp3 now! (that's sarcasm folks)
nayTall
1 / 5 (1) May 06, 2011
reading braille through touch is much faster - just like reading with your eyes. there's a market for this snail braille thing among people learning it, though i don't see it extremely applicable beyond that, barring blind folks who want a leisurely read. it would drive me crazy if someone/a device had to read everything out loud to me. a book would take 2 or 3x longer.
suddenlyatomseverywhere
not rated yet May 06, 2011
This design assumes the user can easily move the device in a straight line relative to the page. It should be able to detect line drift and inform the user of this through auditory or tactile means.
suddenlyatomseverywhere
not rated yet May 06, 2011
Can't we just skip Braille and just use camera's with OCR? Then they can read the same books as we do.
If you ask me Braille is not longer a need with current technologies.


There are thousands of volumes of text already in braille, naturally there is a need for a device in the meantime. Photo recognition tech might not be the easiest for the visually impaired to work with right away.
Wardblack
not rated yet May 07, 2011
I'm as interested as the next person in the contents of this site but I continue to notice that the standard of copywriting is not keeping pace with technological progress.

I quote: To most of us, Braille is largely a mystery. It feels really cool, but the idea of actually reading it is kind of a pipe dream.

"Really cool" . Sorry this is unimpressive and outdated language use for the second or third time around in my lifetime.