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Technoscience

Facilities for the visually impaired

Talking pen and labels: used in classrooms and to   identify objects

PENTOPTalking pen and labels: used in classrooms and to identify objectsPENTOP

The Amazon-based company Pentop won the national 2012 FINEP Innovation Award bestowed by the Brazilian Innovation Agency (FINEP) in the Assistive Technology category with a system of vocalized labels for people with visual impairments. Pentop’s system consists of a device called a talking pen — which has a sensor at the tip and a computational processor capable of decoding printed materials and reproducing previously recorded sounds — and a set of labels with printed codes. It is designed for use in classrooms and in identifying objects such as clothes, CDs, DVDs and medications, making life easier for the blind and those with limited vision. The labels are based on the same principle as barcodes, but instead of the optical reader used at cash registers, the reading is done by the pen’s sensor, which is equipped with a voice. The award-winning system has a follow-up project entitled “Money speaker for the blind,” currently being developed by Danielle Castro and Marivaldo Albuquerque, who holds a degree in information technology and heads Pentop, which is housed at the Center for Business Incubation and Development (Cide) in the city of Manaus, with support from the Amazonas Research Foundation (Fapeam). The original proposal, which was successfully concluded, was to develop an encoding system to be applied to paper money at the time of its manufacture. In the case of paper money, the code is imprinted along the entire length of the note, which is then identified ​​by the software built into the pen. The tests, scheduled for the month of March, will be carried out ​​by the Amazonas Braille Library, a partner in the project.

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