knfbREADER Mobile helps blind people interpret text
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by Jan Harris
Nokia and KNFB Reading Technologies have partnered to develop a mobile phone which incorporates text-recognition technology - the knfbREADER Mobile.
KNFB’s text-recognition system has been installed inside the Nokia N82 cell phone, providing a device which can help people with visual impairments interpret text.
The adapted Nokia N82 includes a 5-megapixel autofocus camera. The user can hold the phone in front of a sign or menu, and the built-in software takes a photograph.
The software then interprets the text and reads it out loud, using text-to-speech synthesis.
Text can be stored in the phone’s memory, or on an external flash memory card. Files can then be transferred to a user’s PC or Braille notetaker.
In a statement about the knfbREADER Mobile, Dr Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “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”.
Although the Nokia phone costs around $500, the software costs $1,595.