Special pen scanners for dyslexic children are currently undergoing free trials in Maltese schools, a representative from the company Scanning Pens has told Newsbook.com.mt.

The company’s Head of Global Business Development James Green, has told Newsbook.com.mt that the special C-Pen reader that helps dyslexic children to read text, has just launched across Maltese schools through their partner Robo-coach.

He explained that the company is currently in discussions with the Maltese exam board to work on ways for the pens to be applied in assessments.

Newsbook.com.mt recently caught up Green during the MRO19 event at the MFCC in Ta ‘Qali, a three-day event hosting new technologies, gadgets and E-Sports.

Watch: ‘Digital is in everything’ – MRO organiser

Reading the question 

According to Green, the pens address a vital problem for dyslexic students, reading the question. Most dyslexics can answer questions, ‘extremely well, what they struggle with is actually reading the question in the beginning.’

Much like dragging a highlighter over text, the new ‘pens’ allow readers to drag the device with its built-in camera, across a page of text. The Optical Character Recognition (OCR) then picks up the words on the page and translates them to the display. The user can then plug in headphones to hear the words read to them.

‘The Camera comes on. You scan the text and the text is read to you… simple as that,’ Green says.

The device also has a basic Oxford Primary Dictionary installed, allowing a user to look up the definitions of the words.

Green explains that according to a previous two month study conducted in the UK, students that were using the technology could better understand what they were reading compared to those not using them.

The technology gets better

Green explains that the technology has been around for the best part of two decades but has been improved and reduced considerably in size.

‘The camera technology is 98% accurate now, previously it was 60% accurate. People wanted it to work but now it actually does work.’

Green hopes that there will be more applications over the coming year.