Touching Pictures: Scanner Translates Images Into Braille

The world around us is full of beauty and wonder that is normally hidden from those with visual difficulties. This ingenious device translates images into Braille-like dots that visually impaired people can “see” with their hands, giving them a whole new perspective on the world around them.

The Readot is a scanner that takes in images and text, then raises the appropriate series of dots on its tactile surface to recreate the original. Users are able to experience the pictures that would otherwise be available only to those who have use of their eyesight.

The device also plugs into a computer via USB, allowing users to view websites and search billions of digital pictures online. The Readot looks a bit like those metal pin “sculpture boxes” you find in novelty shops, but it is much more than a toy. It is a wonderfully inventive way to give the visually impaired population a bit of second sight.

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See more in Unbuilt Concepts or under Technology. December, 2010.