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Student\'s Scanning Device For Blind

Editor's Note: The following article is reprinted from BBC News, UK, September 14, 2003:

A university student has invented a "retail-scanning device" that tells blind shoppers the price, style, colour and size of clothes.

Jordan Hill, 22, won the AOL Broadband Innovation Award for her invention Topscan, which she designed and built during her final year as a design student at Brunel University.

Topscan is a small handheld device that describes an item of clothing through a headphone when the garment is scanned.

It also checks to see if a customer's required size is in stock.

The device uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which does not require line of sight to gather the data from the smart label.

"Kickstart" career

Instead, the information is supplied through a proximity reading, which is able to scan through fabrics.

Ms. Hill, from Coventry, received 1,000 pounds with the award, which she said will "help kickstart the development of Topscan into a fully-fledged product".

She added: "I couldn't have hoped for a better start to my career.

"Now that the time has come to turn the idea into a viable product, the award money means that Topscan is one step closer to the shops.

"My ambition is for them to be a regular feature at clothes stores across the country in a few years' time."

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