Smart food labels: deadlines in Braille even for the visually impaired and blind

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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The Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies has launched a project for the creation of a prototype of food labeling accessible to the blind and visually impaired

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Food labels: to be informed, of course, also the blind and visually impaired people. And the Dirpolis Institute (Law, Politics, Development) of the Sant'Anna High School, which started a project to create an accessible food labeling prototype, which goes far beyond Braille.

What will be offered will be a tactile system conveyed by a technological support, developed by the research group of Professor Antonio Frisoli, within the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory of the TeCIP Institute (Communication, Information, Perception Technology) of the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies.

We will use touch, therefore, but we will then make sure to transmit information to a mobile phone or tablet that you then communicate them to the person.

Since, in large organized distribution, the provision of information on food takes place exclusively through labels, the aim of the researchers was precisely to reach out to people with visual impairments, to which the right of access to information is not normally guaranteed to be supported in making informed food choices, to be autonomous in food purchases and in the use of products after purchase.

Think, for example, of how many difficulties a blind person can face, even if he already has only a jar of chickpeas or tomato puree in his hands, in trying to distinguish the packages or capture the expiration date.

Once the preliminary phase of the project has been completed, as soon as more funding is available, lawyers and engineers will go ahead in the development of technological supports, while trying to develop solutions that do not affect the final price of the products and that do not require the use of additional packaging.



"We started this project - explains the researcher Mariagrazia Alabrese, project manager - because at the moment there are very few products with a labeling in the Braille alphabet, which not all blind people know. Furthermore, these labels usually contain some information, such as the product name and expiry date, while, for example, the indications on the ingredients are absent, also due to the size of the Braille language. Our project is aimed at food sector operators who will be able to create packaging and labels consistent with the legislation and be accessible even to people with visual disabilities ".



Germana Carillo

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