A new app that converts photos of printed text into audio readback is helping blind people read. The KNFB Reader app allows blind people to scan printed text, for instance restaurant menus, lecture notes, mail or receipts, and seconds later the text gets read back to them.
The app not only recognised printed text, but also has features called "viewfinder" and "tilt assist". As the names suggest, this helps users align the text document with the phone’s camera.
The app, which costs about R 1 200 ($99), can be downloaded onto Apple devices and will be made available on Android in the coming months.
The developers also hope to create a KNFB Reader version for Google Glass. "Google Glass makes sense because you direct the camera with your head," said Ray Kurzweil, an artificial-intelligence scientist and senior Google employee. Kurzweil demonstrated the app at the US National Federation of the Blind’s annual convention earlier this year. Early users of the new reader app have shared their positive experiences on Twitter:
Just used the @KNFBReader App to sort through my mail. I feel so empowered. Originally, I was a skeptic of this product. Now I'm a convert. — Rose Waagan (@chicksdigmacs) September 20, 2014
Went out to breakfast this morning and was able to read the menu for the first time in my life. Thanks @KNFBReader & @steveofmaine — Laura Legendary (@Accessible_Info) September 20, 2014
SOURCES: reuters.com, knfbreader.com, twitter.com