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free103point9 Newsroom has moved to http://free103point9.wordpress.com/as of March 18, 2010 A blog for radio artists with transmission art news, open calls, microradio news, and discussion of issues about radio art, creative use of radio, and radio technologies. free103point9 announcements are also included here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Cell phone reads to the blind

From NPR's Morning Edition:
A new cell phone offers the smallest text-to-speech reading device ever built, a device especially useful for people with impaired vision. The phone and software come with a $2,000 price tag. If you have normal vision and can read, there are thousands of things you do every day without even thinking even about it, little problems you solve with just a glance — like knowing which coffee bag in a hotel is caffeinated or decaf. James Gashel is blind, but he can get his caffeine fix with help from his cell phone. "All you have to do is snap a picture of the bag, and it tells you," he says. The phone is loaded up with software developed by the company Gashel works for — K-NFB Reading Technology, a joint venture between Kurzweil Technologies and the National Federation of the Blind. Besides reading labels and telling a $20 from a $10, the phone can read pages of printed text. Reading machines have been around for decades — this company already makes a hand-held device. But this reader is the smallest yet — just 4 ounces and a few inches long. And it's in a high-end Nokia phone with features like an MP3 player, high-speed data connection and a GPS navigation system.

The software will cost $1,595 and the cell phone is expected to cost about $500.

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