Visually impaired people have a very hard time when it comes to reading and interacting with the written word around them. A new app developed by the National Federation of the Blind and Ray Kurzweil, a well-known artificial-intelligence scientist and senior Google employee is seeking to remedy this problem.
Taking advantage of new pattern recognition and image processing technology, the app allows users to adjust or tilt the camera, and reads printed materials out loud. One feature I really liked was the ability to take pictures of menus, signs or small serial numbers and convert it to text. This text can then be blown up using really large fonts to assist people with moderate visual problems. People with refreshable Braille displays can now snap pictures of print documents and display them in Braille near-instantaneously, said NFB spokesman Chris Danielsen.
Some early adopters like Mark Feliz said “I just finished sorting today’s mail. What a great feeling I have to be able to accomplish this seemingly trivial task. I didn’t have to interrupt my son or daughter, I didn’t have to wait for a pair of eyes, and my wife does not have to spend time sorting. […] As my students would say, ‘The K-NFB Reader rocks!” Another user, Gordon Luke, tweeted that he was able to use the app to read his polling card for the Scottish Referendum.
The KNFB Reader app was designed for the Apple iPhone and an Android version is currently in the works.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.