Blind Reader

Blind Reader - Contributed by Brian De Cicco

Blind Read is the latest advancement in adaptive technology that allows visually impaired individuals to obtain information from written documents. The Blind Reader uses a high tech digital camera to scan information and read it back to the user. This device is revolutionary because unlike other software applications, Blinder Reader is not tethered to a computer. This device allows visually impaired individuals greater freedom and mobility because of it’s small portable size. The device is also equipment with earphones which makes it convenient for use in libraries and easy to use in loud or busy settings. Considering, the large number of individuals busy tuning out the world with their ipods and mp3 players or veraciously texting away on their cell phones, individuals use these devices would be right at home in today’s world of digital communication. These devices are expensive, costing around $3,500.00, however, they are capable of reading almost anything from receipts, recipes, book pages, memos, tickets and package labels and likely worth the investment.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/13/technology/13blind.html?ex=1185595200&en=b076875c9cb96d7d&ei=5070

July 13, 2006
A Scanner-Reader to Take Along Anywhere
By J. D. BIERSDORFER
Speech-synthesis software that reads Web pages and on-screen documents aloud has been helping people with visual impairments use computers for years. A new portable device developed by the inventor Ray Kurzweil, however, eliminates the need to be near a computer. The device can turn all types of printed text into speech, anywhere.
The Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader fuses a digital camera with a hand-held organizer to create a gadget that snaps a picture of any printed material, scans the text and then reads it a few seconds later, using a synthesized voice. Printed pages captured with the device can be discarded or saved for later use. It can store thousands of text pages on extra memory cards and can also transfer files to a computer or pocket organizer.
The reader can handle almost anything: receipts, recipes, book pages, memos and package labels. It sells for around $3,500; a list of resellers, along with more information, can be found at www.knfbreader.com.
The device comes equipped with a headphone jack for private recitation in quiet environments like the library.

Information from the companies website

Technology that scans and reads printed material to the blind is nothing new, but this personal reader is the first truly handheld device to do the job. Combining a state-of-the-art digital camera with a powerful personal data assistant housed in a custom-designed, attractive case, the Kurzweil–National Federation of the Blind Reader puts the best available character recognition software together with text-to-speech conversion technology, all in the palm of your hand.
Hold the Reader’s camera over print—a restaurant menu, directions, or a memo from your boss—and snap a picture. In seconds you can hear the contents of the printed document in clear synthetic speech. Scan, read, and discard pages; store them for later reading; or transfer to a computer or Braille-aware PDA. The Reader even has a headphone jack so you won’t disturb your neighbors.
The Reader’s convenient size, simple design, and powerful technology deliver unprecedented access to printed matter.
The Kurzweil—National Federation of the Blind Reader

• Reads most printed documents, from letters and memos to pages in a book
• Reads address labels and package information and instructions
• Reads an entire page or a few lines for identification
• Stores thousands of printed pages with easily obtainable extra memory
• Transfers files to desktop and laptop computers or Braille notetakers
• Reads documents from computers or other devices
Imagine how the Reader will change your life. A colleague hands you a document for review in the next hour. No problem. You come back from vacation to an overflowing in-basket? Put the Reader to work, and the clutter is gone. Need to check your seat assignment in the airport? The information is a click away.
You’ll find hundreds of uses for the Reader every day—all in one small package, and for less than you would pay for a notetaker or laptop.
No other device in the history of adaptive technology for the blind has provided quicker access to more information than the Kurzweil–National Federation of the Blind Reader. The world of the printed word is about to be opened to the blind in a way it has never been before. Get ready; the revolution can begin today.