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Old 03-03-2008, 06:44 PM   #1
NatCh
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Posts: 11,605
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Republic of Texas Embassy at Jackson, TN
Device: Nook STGR
A tool for the visually impaired: your cell phone can read to you.

Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader application teaches your cellphone to read aloud.


Here's a dandy product from knfb Reading Technology, Inc. that uses OCR and 'read aloud' software to allow camera-equipped cell phones to read text aloud to their users. This isn't really a new application, per se (though it's certainly new to me), but a new version of an existing one.


It has an impressive list of accessibility features, among them, reading PDF files on the phone is of particular interest. If I'm inferring correctly, it actually replaces the normal operating applications of the phone, but keeps the standard functions like phone calling intact.


Here are some of the things it can do:
  • Reads most printed documents, from letters and memos to pages in a book
  • Reads address labels and package information and instructions
  • Easily recognizes U.S. currency
  • Displays each sentence visually and highlights each word as it is read
  • Stores thousands of pages using easily obtainable flash memory
  • Transfers text files to and from computers or Braille note takers
  • Adjusts reading speed to suit user’s preference.
The system evidently requires an unlocked GSM phone, and a carrier that will support it. As far as hardware requirements, here's that list:
  • Operating system - Symbian S60, 3rd Ed, FP1
  • Supported phone models - Nokia N82 (a bit thin here at the moment)
  • Supported languages - US English or UK English
  • On phone free flash storage - 50 Mb required
  • Flash card storage - up to 500 images per GB
  • Memory - 40 Mb free RAM required
  • Camera - 5 megapixel, autofocus with xenon flash required

Some of the nifty things about it can do are: it apparently has specific reading modes for books, articles, labels, bills and memos; it includes text navigation by sentence, word, character; it has a user self-training feature for taking pictures; allows import/export TXT files; saves documents and image files either automatically, or manually; and it saves settings to and loads them from memory a card.

You can find out all the nitty gritty on it at knbf Reading Technology's website. The hat tip on this one goes to coolest-gadgets.com.
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