Here is an ingenious design that while created with the blind in mind, I’m sure would make a great tool for people out there who simply don’t like to read. Called the Voice Stick, it is an optical character recognition scanner in the shape of a small wand. It uses advanced text-to-voice technology to help visually impaired people read everything from books to business cards.
The Voice Stick is a creation by designer Sungwoo Park that makes virtually any printed text available to the blind. Despite efforts the world over to accommodate the visually impaired with braille translations, it’s a costly and time-consuming exercise that will never be available for all past or future text. That’s where the Voice Stick comes in.
As you pass the wand over a page, the text is scanned, translated and then read to you in a friendly voice through a set of earphones. It would be capable of reading from a variety of materials such as newspapers, books, mail, brochures, contracts and small items such as business cards or perhaps even packaging on groceries.
The scope for a device such as this is huge. As well as helping the visually impaired to read and the lazy to read things that don’t come in audiobook form, it could also aid the elderly or sufferers of macular degeneration. It has the potential to be easier to use and less conspicuous than an electronic magnifying glass or similar aids.
Lets hope this gem of a design makes it to market. It will be a big step forward in making information available to everyone.