‘Tactile’ can translate text to braille in real-time!

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One of the nine winners of this year’s Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, Team Tactile hopes to create an inexpensive and portable version of their prototype.

The team has developed many different prototypes. Their latest iteration can display six characters at a time and images the text using an internal camera. © Lemelson-MIT

With the potential to transform the lives of the 285 million people who are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide, Team Tactile’s latest prototype is about the size of a candy bar and can display six characters at a time.

The small box shaped device has an inbuilt camera and when placed over a line of text, with just a push of a button, it takes an image that is then translated into braille using Microsoft’s Computer Vision API and the team’s software. Subsequently, the mechanical system in the box lowers and raises the pins allowing a blind person to read the text directly off of a page.

The team has applied for a patent for the integration of the system through Microsoft’s #MakeWhatsNext patent program, which supports women inventors.

In a report by the Smithsonian Magazine, one of the members, Chandani Dosh explained, “Currently the camera only takes a picture of its field of view, we are aiming to make the device similar to a handheld scanner that allows the user to scan the entire page in one go.”

To read the original story, click here.

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