[access-uk] Re: KNFB reader on a Nokia cell phone

Now I like the sound of this!, only can it be programmed to recognise
attractive women and read their facial expressions, discreetly of course
lol.  It's so damn annoying when work colleagues say "she's nice", and
all I can say is, "was she".  I hate being in company and not knowing if
someone is actually looking, and maybe smiling at me, and would love to
chat, but because I cannot see their expression, I have no idea.  I'm
sure many others feel the same.
Just imagine a blind date club! lol all pointing mobile phones at each
other! Smile when your phone says "She's nice".

Dave
        
I'm posting the following which I received from another list.    big
flash from the big R.
Begin forwarded text.
BALTIMORE (AP) - Chris Danielsen fidgets with the cell phone, holding it
over a $20 bill.
"Detecting orientation, processing U.S. currency image," the phone says
in a flat monotone before Danielsen snaps a photo. A few seconds later,
the phone says, "Twenty dollars."
Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, is
holding the next generation of computerized aids for the blind and
visually impaired.
The Nokia cell phone is loaded with software that turns text on
photographed documents into speech. In addition to telling whether a
bill is worth $1, $5, $10 or $20, it also allows users to read anything
that is photographed, whether it's a restaurant menu, a phone book or a
fax.
While the technology is not new, the NFB and the software's developer
say the cell phone is the first to incorporate the text-to-speech
ability.
"We've had reading devices before," Danielsen said, noting similar
software is already available in a larger handheld reader housed in a
personal digital assistant. Companies such as Code Factory SL, Dolphin
Computer Access Ltd. and Nuance Communications Inc. also provide
software that allows the blind to use cell phones and PDAs.
Inexpensive hand-held scanners such as WizCom Technologies Ltd.'s
SuperPen can scan limited amounts of text, read it aloud and even
translate from other languages.
However, the $2,100 NFB device combines all of those functions in one
smart phone, said James Gashel, vice president of business development
for K-NFB Reading Technology Inc., which is marketing the phone as a
joint venture between the federation and software developer Ray
Kurzweil.
"It is the next step, but this is a huge leap," Gashel, who is blind,
said in a telephone interview. "I'm talking to you on the device I also
use to read things. I can put it in my pocket and at the touch of a
button, in 20 seconds, be reading something I need to read in print."
Ray Kurzweil, who developed the first device that could convert text
into audio in the 1970s and the current NFB device, said portability is
only the first step. Future versions of the device will recognize faces,
identify rooms and translate text from other languages for the blind and
the sighted.
The inventor plans to begin marketing the cell phone in February through
K-NFB Reading Technology. The software will cost $1,595 and the cell
phone is expected to cost about $500, Kurzweil said.
Dave Doermann, president of College Park-based Applied Media Analysis
said his company is working on similar software for smart phones that
could be used by the military for translation and by the visually
impaired.
"We don't anticipate ours being that expensive, but unfortunately we're
not quite to the release yet," said Doermann, who is also co-director of
the University of Maryland's Laboratory for Language and Media
Processing.
Doermann said the company, which has received funding from the
Department of Defense and the National Eye Institute, hopes to have its
software ready in the next 12 to 18 months.
Kurzweil's device uses speech software provided by Nuance, said Chris
Strammiello, the director of product management at Nuance, who said the
company has also developed a prototype reader that uses the Internet to
access more powerful server-side computers.
"As you can harness the power of remote environments and do that so
quickly with the Web technologies, it gives a lot more capability,
flexibility and options to the way you solve these type of problems,"
Strammiello said.
There are about 10 million blind and visually impaired people in the
U.S., a number that is expected to double in the next 30 years as baby
boomers age.
Kurzweil said those with vision problems are not the only ones expected
to benefit from the technology. Dyslexics, for example, are expected to
be among the users of the current device because of its ability to
highlight each word as it's read aloud, helping them cope with their
disability, which affects the ability to read. The highlighting function
can also help them improve their reading skills, he said.
"What's new here is both blind people and kids can do this with a device
that fits in their shirt pocket," Kurzweil said.
Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said the
device and its PDA predecessor are a "form of hand-held vision" that
will make the visual environment "much more readily available to the
blind."

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