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iPad overlay makes reading easier for blind users

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Researchers have developed an e-reader that enables people with visual impairments to read the same text sighted readers do.

The system, called STAAR (Situated Touch Audio Annotator And Reader) allows the user to scan the text with their fingers to hear the words, control the pace of their reading, bookmark a page, and highlight important information.

An embossed plastic overlay sits on top of an iPad screen to give the user a tactile landmark grid.

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“This tool has helped me because it’s really the first time I’ve been able to use voiceover to read at my own pace, which is something that I didn’t actually think was possible,” says Marine Hayden, a visually impaired PhD student at Texas A&M University, where researchers created the device.

Funding for the work came from the NSF.

Source: National Science Foundation

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