The first portable real-time text to Braille converter has been developed by the graduates from MIT


Partial sight is a serious problem for lots of people all over the globe. That is why a big amount of partially sighted has to stay at home without the ability to have an access to the print version of books or other readable materials. There exist many Braille converts but not everyone can afford such purchase. The young and ambitious engineers from MIT have decided to solve this problem and to create a new Braille converter which will be accessible for everybody. This device can change the life of 1.3 million of people from the USA who are officially recognized as virtually impaired.

The team Tactile consists of 6 undergraduate seniors from MIT who possesses not only technical knowledge but also has business experience which was gained due to participation in various projects.

Tactile develops technology that transforms printed text to Braille. Tactile’s goal is to provide assistance to those people who are partially sighted to have the opportunity to be accessed to the printed text such as bills or mails. This device is low-cost, portable and handheld.

Tactile is still in the process of developing. The team members are currently working on a mechanism and on the method of text processing. They are continuing the upgrading process of text recognition system. The last prototype has the size of a chocolate bar. It is equipped with the built-in camera and it can display 6 symbols at one time.

The team supposes that the price for this device is going to be about 200$. In the contrast with other Braille converters, this price is the lowest. Team Tactile is planning to market their device in two years. It is going to be much smaller than the prototype and it will display about 36 symbols. At the moment Tactile is being tested in the Boston area due to the fact that the team has received a $10.000 grant from the MIT Ideas Global Challenge.

Braille is not that easy to learn, and many people prefer the audio help and optical increase. The engineers want to create the device which will allow the user to scan the whole page of the printed text at one time.