TechEye has an article by TeleRead contributor Dan Bloom about this new development from Taiwanese doctoral student Yu-shuan Peng. He developed Android software to let blind people use a cellphone camera to take flat images and transmit the image, via bluetooth, to a tactile board that will allow the image to take on a three-dimensional form so that blind users can feel it.
“It’s like what people do when they can tell what a mahjong tile is without looking at it, just by stroking it with their thumbs,” Peng says, using the example of a popular parlour game in Taiwan.
The result of his creation is a raised surface that can be felt. Blind people can also take pictures of their surroundings with their mobiles and then develop a tactile version of what places they frequently go to look like, and can even share them with sighted people.
A doctoral student at the university, who is completely blind, has used Peng’s software and told local media that he believes it can be improved even further. So now he is continuing to develop the software app, from the perspective of a blind person.
Peng’s idea has gone worldwide. After the software was uploaded to the internet, he said, a number of users both in Taiwan and overseas downloaded it. In addition, he logged in e-mails from blind people and sighted people, expressing their satisfaction with it. Peng says: “I feel I did something useful here.”
What’s next? Peng says he plans to continue work on developing the software. Since Braille books and books-on-tape are still not very readily available, he is now working on a text-to-voice application that will read text that is photographed.