Blind World Magazine

Fingertip braille sensor can help the elderly.

The Japan Times, Japan.
Friday, May 12, 2006.

SENDAI (Kyodo) A researcher at Tohoku University has created a glovelike device that recognizes braille using fingertip sensors, a development that could assist many seniors dealing with visual impairment.

A student demonstrates how to use a braille sensor that can be worn on a fingertip at a lab at Tohoku University in Sendai.

The device, developed by Mami Tanaka, an assistant professor at the Tohoku University graduate school, uses a special sensor that reads braille and transmits the information to a computer that deciphers the dots as characters.

Many elderly people have trouble learning braille because of the small size prescribed for each character -- a space measuring 6.5 mm by 3.5 mm.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry says only one in 10 visually impaired people in Japan can read braille.

Tanaka has also been working on a system to vocalize braille, a study expected to offer even greater help for the visually impaired.

The fingertip device recognizes the dots' positions, then sends the data to a computer by changing output voltage. The information is then deciphered by the computer, which collates the data with preregistered characters.

End of article.

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