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MIT's FingerReader device helps people with vision impairment read with the swipe of a finger

  • Seeing Eye Ring-1.jpg

    In this Thursday, June 26, 2014 photo, a model wears a FingerReader ring at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. Researchers designed and developed the instrument, which enables people with visual disabilities to read text printed on paper or electronic devices. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia) (The Associated Press)

  • Seeing Eye Ring-2.jpg

    In this Thursday, June 26, 2014 photo, a FingerReader ring lies on a book's page at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. Researchers designed and developed the instrument, which enables people with visual disabilities to read text printed on paper or electronic devices. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia) (The Associated Press)

  • Seeing Eye Ring-3.jpg

    In this June 26, 2014 photo, a model wears a FingerReader ring at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. Researchers designed and developed the instrument, which enables people with visual disabilities to read text printed on paper or electronic devices. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia) (The Associated Press)

  • Seeing Eye Ring-4.jpg

    In this June 26, 2014 photo, a model wears a FingerReader ring at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass. Researchers designed and developed the instrument, which enables people with visual disabilities to read text printed on paper or electronic devices. (AP Photo Stephan Savoia) (The Associated Press)

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an affordable finger reader for people whose vision is impaired.

The prototype FingerReader fits like a ring on a user's index finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. Special software processes scanned words and a synthesized voice immediately reads the text aloud.

Reading is as easy as pointing a finger at the text. The device also has vibration motors and other cues to help users read in a straight line.

MIT Media Lab researchers say the device can read books, restaurant menus, business cards and other texts.

Jerry Berrier, who is blind, has tested the FingerReader. He says it will help people with visual impairment get immediate access to texts and live fuller, richer, more productive lives.