Instant Braille translator can fit in your hand

An all-woman team of six engineering undergraduate students at MIT has created an inexpensive, hand-held device prototype that provides real-time translation of printed text to Braille — which could greatly increase accessibility of written materials for the blind.

Team Tactile was one of the winners of the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize this year for their creation, which translates printed text into the raised-dot language.

Here’s how it works: The device has an internal camera that takes photos of the printed text, which is then converted into digital text using optical character recognition software. Next, the text is translated into Braille, and a mechanical system raises and lowers pins on the surface of the Tactile that form the characters to be read by one’s fingertips.

Though the current version is limited in the number of characters it can translate and display, the team hopes to make the device capable of scanning an entire page at a time and displaying two lines of text at once.

Read more: New Scientist

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