What is the purpose of the device?
The main purpose of the device is to give access to printed text to people with vision defects that prevent them from reading text in a printed form in a traditional way by using their eyesight. Additionally, it is worth to remember that this group is not the only one that can benefit from the solution – e.g. dyslexic people may also have problems with reading printed text, therefore can constitute a significant group of device recipients.
How does the device read the text?
By using the index finger, a person points below the line of the printed text he or she wants to read and slides the finger below the line of text to obtain the read. The camera attached to the finger captures the image of the pointed text, sends it by Wi-Fi to the mobile device with software that processes the image and recognizes specific words (by the use of OCR software). Then, the voice read from speech synthesizer (TTS) is received by the user. What is most important, it occurs in near-real time and right after user’s pointing below the text line he or she want to recognize. It does not require any additional action from the user.
What is the planned price of the device?
All people engaged in the project aim at setting the price as low as possible, so the device could be widely accessible, and the whole enterprise would be profitable. Currently, the final price of the devices is not defined.
Is it planned to further develop the device and add other functionalities?
Currently, the main application of the device is recognizing and reading printed text. An additional functionality is an interior localization based on Bluetooth Low Energy beacons technology. Other functionalities, such as colour, object and shape recognition, are planned on the stage of further R&D development of the device. Additionally, it is possible that the device will be tested for other applications, e.g. electronic magnifier, handy translator, language learning device or bar code reader.
What is needed to use the device?
The device is independent and operates together with user’s mobile device. Currently, the mobile device is: netbook, notebook and tablet. The main requirement is Wi-Fi communication between the device and the installed operating system Windows 7, 8 or 10. Additional requirement is to have speech synthesizer (TTS) installed and turned on in Widows system in Polish or English language. In the future, it is planned to develop the application for such mobile devices as Android smartphones and tablets.
What languages are supported by the device?
Currently, the solution supports text read in Polish and English language. Enabling printed text read in other languages is possible due to the software that is used (OCR) that already has this functionality.
When the solution will be commercially available?
The device is planned to be commercially available in Autumn/Winter 2016.
What is the weight and the size of the device?
The weight of the device is approximately 115 grams. The dimensions are: finger module for sending the image - 34,5x25,5x18 mm (length x width x height); wrist powering module - 62x44x19 mm (length x width x height); palm and finger stabilizer (maximum dimensions when laid out – spread and stretched): 180x240x4 mm (length x width x height). It is worth emphasizing that the palm and finger stabilizer size is universal, and the Velcro closure enables free adjustments to individual users.
How long will the device operate?
Currently, the device can constantly operate up to 3 hours. The device alerts the user before switching off about low battery level and the possibility of discharging. If the critical battery level is reached, the device switches off to avoid total discharging of lithium-ion battery.
What are the limitations of the solution?
The text needs to be printed in black. The camera (attached to the part placed on the finger – the module that captures the image) is sensitive to light conditions – the worse they are, the worse is the read and operation of the device. The size of the recognized font cannot be too large, because it can make proper text recognition harder due to solution specification – the camera attached to the finger captures small frames. Due to Wi-Fi communication, the communication distance is limited in regard to the reception at which good quality of signal for image transmission, as well as recognizing and reading the printed text, is possible to be obtained.