Blind Reading Print by Sound

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    ACCORDING to a report in the Times of Jan. 1, two French inventors, MM. Thomas and Conland, have devised an apparatus by which ordinary print can be made legible for the blind. The apparatus is called the photoelectrograph. A ray of light is made to pass over the printed page, and as each letter is illuminated the corresponding letter is presented in relief and in magnified form in another part of the machine, where the blind reader identifies it by touch. Not only ordinary print, but also Braille can be read with the machine; in the latter case it has the advantage that the Braille characters can be printed with ink on a smooth page, and need be no larger than ordinary type, thus reducing Braille types to a convenient size and making them cheaper and easier to produce than hitherto. Any reduction in the size of the present Braille publications in embossed type must be a boon; but institutions for the blind in Great Britain will probably continue to use an instrument which involves no special printing, and—like Dr. Fournier d'Alb's ‘optophone’ or Prof. F. C. Browne's ‘phon-opticon’—directly converts ordinary type into sound signals. Moreover, experience has shown that ordinary type, even after enlargement, is unsuitable for reading by touch with any speed.

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    Blind Reading Print by Sound. Nature 129, 52 (1932) doi:10.1038/129052a0

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