The Optophone: An Instrument for Reading by Ear

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Abstract

THE type-reading optophone, an instrument designed to enable blind people to read ordinary print, was described in NATURE in 1914 (vol. xciv., p. 4). At the British Scientific Products Exhibition of 1918 some public reading demonstrations were given with a somewhatimproved apparatus exhibited by the writer and by Mr. W. Forster Brown (see NATURE, vol. cii., p. 10, September 5, 1918). These demonstrations sufficed to show that all the essentialproblems of type-reading had been solved, but the instrument then exhibited had certaindefects which militated against its prolonged and convenient use by blind persons. Thus, the displacement along the line of type was effected by turning a handle, which no blind person would care to use by the hour. The construction of the apparatus generally was not sufficiently solid and substantial, in view of the fact that it had to be put into the hands of a necessarily somewhat clumsy operator.

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