Wizcomtech's line of reading pens help people translate languages. Now, a new pen is geared toward helping people with reading disabilities. Wizcomtech's line of reading pens help people translate languages. Now, a new pen is geared toward helping people with reading disabilities. Wizcomtech's line of reading pens help people translate languages. Now, a new pen is geared toward helping people with reading disabilities. (Photo: Wizcomtech)

This pen makes reading easier for people with dyslexia

Device scans text and breaks words down into syllables using a digital voice.

They've been making translation pens for years, helping people learn new languages or decipher complicated text. And now, a company based in Israel called Wizcomtech is pivoting to help struggling readers, with a new reading pen that is specifically geared toward people with dyslexia and other reading disabilities.

As the user holds the pen over a page, the pen scans text and breaks words down into syllables using a digital voice, helping struggling readers grasp difficult, multi-syllabic words and complicated phrases. It also offers synonyms for the words to help users remember them later.

The pen is small enough to fit in a user's pocket, so students can easily transport them to school.

For the 14 percent of American youth in the U.S. with dyslexia, the pens could be a game changer. Dyslexia is a reading disorder that may include difficulties in spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, pronouncing words when reading aloud and understanding what one reads. Often these difficulties are first noticed at school.

wizcomtech pens Wizcomtech produces several reading pens that are used commonly in schools in Israel. (Photo: Wizcomtech)

The reading pen is just the latest in a string of Israeli tech advancements that are helping people overcome challenges. Google, partnering with the Israeli company Sesame Enable, had paralyzed people in mind when they built the world's first completely touch-free smartphone. A class at the Technion Institute melded a video game controller and GPS tech to create software to help the blind navigate. A popular video chat app from a Jerusalem startup has become extremely popular in the deaf community. And an Israeli industrial designer created a line of luggage that easily attaches to wheelchairs.

At a 72-hour "Makeathon" event held in Israel last year, college students built dozens of new inventions to help people with disabilities in their everyday challenges. They included:

  • Chair Call an app to call a wheelchair to your bedside or back out of the way, clearing space for visitors.
  • Coffee Break – a Rube Goldberg-like coffee maker for people with hand tremors.
  • Ride Sharing – an app that connects people with disabilities to wheelchair-accessible vehicles on Zipcar and Uber.
  • One Hand Sony – a device to hold the PlayStation hand control and play with one hand.
  • Plane Seat Assistance – an in-flight supportive vest, neck brace and leg support for a child with cerebral palsy.

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This pen makes reading easier for people with dyslexia
Device scans text and breaks words down into syllables using a digital voice.