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Kurzweil Unveils Smallest Text Scanner and Converter

The smallest ever portable device allowing users to scan printed text and convert it to speech has been unveiled by KNFB Reading Technology. The KNFB Reader uses software installed on a Nokia N82 multi-function mobile phone handset weighing only 114 grams

The device allows users to take pictures of printed materials using the phone’s integrated camera while the KNFB software, which includes intelligent imaging and character recognition, allows the text to be resized, tracked and highlighted on-screen or converted into synthetic speech. In addition the screen reader software can help a visually impaired user to access more of the phone’s features which include a calendar, mobile internet , music player, voice recorder, GPS navigation and PDF viewer.

KNFB is a partnership of the National Federation of the Blind in the US and Kurzweil Technologies, the company set up by celebrated inventor and futurologist Raymond Kurzweil, pioneer of Optical Character Recognition and text-to-speech technology in the 1970s.

The software is available in the UK for 1,080 pounds, with a package including software, a Nokia handset and half a day of training available for 1,725 pounds.

In May Kurzweil will be further enhancing his reputation as a man of the future when he appears as an interactive hologram to be the keynote speaker at a charity dinner. The Children’s Vision Awards Dinner is organised by the Association for Retinopathy of Prematurity and Related Diseases ( and Kurzweil’s
hologram will use ‘digital teleportation’ technology developed by Teleportec (


  1. Per | March 2nd, 2008 | 1:04 pm

    Maybe the following is interesting for you as well. For example, do you know the Braille Phone for $20?

    There is an open letter to Nokia, Google, the Open Handset Alliance and to other companies, organisations, politicians and persons from the r&d sector. Mobile technology could be a great chance for the many blind and visually impaired people around the world but it must be accessible and affordable.

    The open letter informs about screen reader software for the mobile platforms S60 and Android, satellite navigation for blind pedestrians, accuracy of GPS, mobile access to map data, mobile web access, self-help, commonalities of blindness and illiteracy, accessibility, corporate responsibility, suggestions for Nokia’s PR and the importance of free software and affordable cell phones for the many blind people from developing or newly industrializing countries.

    It could be very helpful if other parties would spread the ideas and report about the mentioned topics as well.

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