Each time I go to the library to change a book, I notice the ‘Braille’ section. The count of such books is pathetic as compared to the number of books available for the people who can read.
Can this situation not been changed by the use of technology? Can we not create an e-book reader for the blind?
Why not create a reader as follows
- The reader can be around six to seven inches in length and should be able to accommodate three or four lines of Braille. In the extreme, even a one line display will probably suffice.
- The display of the device will be a matrix of pins similar to those used in a dot-matrix printer.
- A few control buttons can be provided on the border of the reader.
- The reader should also support an SD card reader and should be able to support standard and open formats like epub or txt.
- While reading, the book software can read a line of the book from the card and create equivalent Braille impressions on the display, which can be ‘read’ by the person.
- To move to the next line, the ‘down’ arrow can be used.
- For navigation, the reader can support buttons like ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘table of contents’.
- It is important that the books be placed on the SD card in a simple structure, placing all files in the root directory. This is because navigating sub-directories will be pain-staking on such a simple device and will also not be friendly for blind people.
The primary thought behind this gadget is that people who are not able to read and enjoy books the way we do, should also be able to enjoy them. Till date, I have only seen printed versions of books and that number is seriously not up to the mark and does not match the number of books on the market. If we can create a gadget that makes it easy to translate text into Braille and that too not on paper, the amount of effort needed to make text available will be drastically reduced and many more people will experience the joy of reading.
Also, why restrict to English? The dot matrix gadget can easily be extended for other languages like German, French, Hindi, Marathi, Chinese and many more.
Note: I have put this thought down even before doing a Google search for such devices. And as usually happens in this wide, wide world, there is a chance that someone must already have implemented the idea you are putting forward.