Haptic reader makes non-braille books into something readable for those who know the language of touch.
Greek for "touch", the haptic system of braille has long been a staple of the visually impaired, a way to make the world of sight-required books and signs into something more easily accessible for those who cannot see what our culture has wrought, for good or for ill.
Unfortunately, not every book has a braille option, and not every sign has been printed with those tiny raised dots. Enter the Haptic Reader, a slick-looking gadget that is intended to help make the world a braille-r place.
It works, initially, like a scanner. The reader is placed over a non-braille book page and the page is scanned. The words on the page are then converted into braille and the braille image is projected on to the glass surface. Documentation for the Reader is not entirely clear on exactly how these braille dots will be "raised" so that the reader can feel them, but that would seem to be an important element in the process.
Touch: Read. Awesome.
Even if the Reader does not know the language of the hand, the Haptic Reader comes with another option. A small button will convert the text on the page into speech, allowing anyone to access the information.
The benefits of the Reader are that it is lightweight and simply designed, but it does appear fragile and if the braille mechanism was to get "stuck" or broken in any manner, the usefulness of the device would take a serious nosedive.
Still, the idea is solid, and more than just a touchy-feely concept.