Venturebeat has an article looking at the $1,500 Intel Reader portable text-to-speech device Intel has just released. It is the size of a paperback book and can read from files or capture printed text with its built-in digital camera.
The Intel Reader is meant specifically for the blind or visually-impaired.
“We want people to experience the independence of being able to read on their own in a public place or anywhere they want to,” said [Intel representative Ben Foss], speaking at a press event on Monday. “A metaphor for this are the ramps that make buildings wheelchair accessible. This reader is like a ramp.”
The Intel Reader certainly goes farther than the Kindle toward assisting the blind. In fact, it was intentionally designed to enable full use by the visually-impaired with no additional help required. The packaging includes braille notation to identify the manuals, and a tutorial audio CD.
The Intel Reader has also been endorsed by a number of organizations dedicated to helping the blind or learning-disabled. The technical specs are impressive, and even at $1,500 it still costs considerably less than $10,000 braille readers.
It is interesting to consider that, for those who cannot read print themselves, the Intel Reader makes one of the great benefits of e-books available even for printed matter. Who knows; perhaps in a few years even ordinary e-book devices will be able to do something similar.
How can you write about this device without even mentioning the Kindle text-to-speech battle? Are authors going to push for a law making it illegal to use this unless you’re really blind, or making you buy the audiobook along with the print version?
I believe there already is an exemption in copyright law that make these type of devices legal when used by someone with visual impairment.
One easily gets a bit confused when it comes to technology for the visually impaired. Braille is the written language for anyone that is unable to read printed text. This Intel player is clearly a Text to speech unit (TTS) with sophisticated scan/OCR, but it is not a replacement or substitute for Braille reading equipment, which of course still is expensive mechanical devices.