Changing the lives of blind people with an affordable and wearable smart braille device
The blind use a reading system known as braille. However, not all blind people are able to read braille or have access to braille materials due to its high cost or availability. This results in limited learning for the blind and therefore puts them at a disadvantage in society. To challenge this issue, ReadRing has developed an affordable, wearable and smart braille device to help the blind “read” again.
The challenge of “seeing” in darkness
Currently, there are 217 million people with moderate to severe vision impairment globally, of which 36 million are blind and in need of braille literacy. Although braille is the system in which blind people use to read, braille translation devices or current reading materials are usually expensive, bulky and limited. To improve the quality of life for the blind, Mr. Songpakorn Punongong, CEO and CTO of ReadRing Co., Ltd. founded the company with the mission to “empower more blind people to see more of the world through reading”.
Mr. Songpakorn’s passion to help the blind comes from his personal experience of having a blind father who pioneered the countrywide education of the blind in Thailand. This inspiration led him to design the ReadRing. With his background in electrical and electronics engineering, Mr. Songpakorn started the development of the ReadRing in 2015. Now, he has developed ReadRing into the most affordable, lightweight, wearable, quick and portable braille Human Interface Device (HID) which allows its users to read an infinite length of braille from digital or printed text with the assistance of mechanical line tracking.
Was blind, but now I see
ReadRing’s technology features a unique rotary braille display mechanism with text lines tracking and character recognition. A smart phone mounted on the device scans the line of text and translate it into braille in real-time to the device which pushes up several buttons in the rotary mechanism corresponding to the letter it scanned. ReadRing also works as a normal braille display when connected to a computer or smartphone via USB/Bluetooth. It is currently in the final stages of prototyping and testing, and the final product could be ready by early 2020. Their main target markets are North America, Europe, Australia, East Asia, Africa, South America, India, China and ASEAN countries.
A step closer to success
Together with Ms. Pattarisa, CMO of ReadRing, Mr. Songpakorn attended and was awarded the delightex Award and the Grand Winner Award at the recent TECH PLAN DEMO DAY in Thailand 2019! “When I read about TECH PLANTER, I felt that they knew about the pain points of deep tech startups and so I decided to participate,” said Mr. Songpakorn. They are currently looking for help with AI development and funding to pilot their production. By joining TECH PLANTER, they were able to network and build many connections to people who could support their goals. As the Grand Winner, they were invited to attend TECH PLAN DEMO DAY in Singapore 2019 on the 3rd of August in which they were awarded the delightex Award and the Mitsubishi Electric Award!
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