Talking handset can read text

James Middleton

January 28, 2008

2 Min Read
Talking handset can read text

A US firm has launched a text to speech application that can be installed on a mobile phone.

K-NFB Reading Technology has embedded software that is capable of ‘reading’ text on images captured by the terminal’s camera then converting that content to voice. The company has the application working on a Nokia N82.

The knfbREADER Mobile was developed in conjunction with the National Federation of the Blind, and research and development company Kurzweil Technologies. It can store thousands of printed pages and users can transfer files to PCs or Braille notetakers.

Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The knfbREADER Mobile will allow the blind unprecedented access to the printed word, affording a level of flexibility and capability never before available. No other device in the history of technology has provided such portability and quick access to print materials. The NFB promotes equal opportunity for the blind, and this Reader will make blind people dramatically more independent. The result will be better performance at work, at school, at home, and everywhere else we go. This Reader will substantially improve the quality of life for the growing number of blind people and people who are losing vision, including seniors.”

Users hear the contents of the document read in synthetic speech, while users who can see the screen and those with learning disabilities can enlarge, read, track, and highlight printed materials using the phone’s display. The combination of text-to-speech and tracking features makes interpreting text much easier for individuals with learning disabilities.

“The knfbREADER Mobile allows me immediate access to printed information, whether it be a menu or a letter,” said James Gashel, vice president of business development for K-NFB Reading Technology, and a blind user of the product. “So many people already carry cell phones. This innovation is exciting because it puts all of the functions that users need into one product, eliminating the need to carry multiple devices. The Reader’s simple user interface makes it ideal for the growing number of blind seniors.”

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of | Follow him @telecomsjames

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