Optophone

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Detail view of the optophone

The optophone is a device, used by the blind, that scans text and generates time-varying chords of tones to identify letters. It is one of the earliest known applications of sonification. Dr. Edmund Fournier d'Albe of Birmingham University invented the optophone in 1913,[1] which used selenium photosensors to detect black print and convert it into an audible output which could be interpreted by a blind person. Barr and Stroud participated in improving the resolution and usability of the instrument.[2]

Only a few units were built and reading initially exceedingly slow; a demonstration at the 1918 Exhibition involved Mary Jameson reading at one word per minute.[3] Later models of the Optophone allowed speeds of up to 60 words per minute, though only some subjects are able to achieve this rate.[4]

See also[edit]

Optacon

References[edit]

  1. ^ d'Albe, E. E. F. (1 July 1914). "On a Type-Reading Optophone". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 90 (619): 373–375. doi:10.1098/rspa.1914.0061. 
  2. ^ d'Albe, E. E. Fournier (October 1920), "The Type-Reading Optophone", Scientific American: 109–110 
  3. ^ Jameson, M. (1966), "The Optophone: Its Beginning and Development", Bulletin of prosthetics research: 25–28 
  4. ^ Fish, R.M. (1976), "An audio display for the blind", IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering (IEEE) (2): 144–154 

External links[edit]