Friday, September 24, 2021

New reading device provides alternative to Braille

Fotografía de fechada el 6 de septiembre de 2018 que muestra a Jorge Grajales, escritor mexicano que padece debilidad visual, durante una entrevista con Efe en Ciudad de México (México). Grajales asegura que el braille puede tener contadas las horas como sistema único de lectura para invidentes con los nuevos dispositivos de inteligencia artificial que ponen toda la biblioteca a su disposición. EFE

Mexico City, Sep 21 (EFE).- Braille could soon be challenged by an alternative reading system that uses a new device based on artificial intelligence to allow blind people to read anything at their disposal, Jorge Grajales, a Mexican writer who is visually impaired, told EFE.

Grajales, along with illustrator Bernardo Fernandez, is the author of “Sensus,” the first Mexican comic book written in Braille.

Grajales has been using the new device for six months, which could have an enormous appeal in Mexico, with 1.2 million potential users, though he thinks that it is unlikely to completely replace Braille.

“Braille is important because it allows the visually impaired to express themselves in writing. However, the fact that this artificial intelligence is now available and can be used to read any text will place Braille in a secondary position,” he said.

Grajales, who was diagnosed with keratoconus, a degenerative disorder of the cornea that causes blurry vision, is one of the first 50 Mexicans to acquire the MyEye 2.0 device.

The device is positioned on one of the arms of a pair of eyeglasses and includes a microphone for voice commands that is placed on the user’s ear.

In Mexico, several versions of MyEye can be purchased for prices ranging from $2,500 to $4,500.

Grajales said that the device has drastically improved his life, not only at work, but also in everyday situations, such as when he wishes to read the menu at a restaurant.

“During the time I have used it, I have noticed important changes. I have been able to resolve everyday problems and issues at work,” the writer said.

“The device can help people with complete vision loss, either congenital or acquired, people with partial visual impairment, and even people with dyslexia, dysplasia, or any other problem that affects reading,” Nikol Wolpert, head of OrCam Technologies for Latin America, told EFE.

MyEye includes a video camera, a lamp, a small speaker, a microphone, a battery and its own software that is updated through the internet, Wolpert said.

Users can use to device to read any type of text, including books, newspapers, digital materials, labels and money.
According to Wolpert, MyEye has been well-received on the market because of its potential uses.

“People can go back to work. For example, a lawyer who begins to suffer vision loss will be able to read again. The device can help him at work,” Wolpert said.