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Intel's New E-Reader For the Visually Impaired 111

Posted by kdawson
from the tell-me-a-story dept.
serverguy writes "Intel will be releasing a win for all visually impaired members of society, a new device called the Intel Reader. It allows visually impaired people to take a snapshot of a newspaper, book, or magazine and have it read back to them. It's estimated that in the US alone there are as many as 55 million people who could make use of such a device. It comes at hefty price though: the paperback-sized device costs $1,499. The device contains a 5-megapixel camera and is powered by a Linux OCR system that converts text into spoken words. The device can hold up to 2GB of data, which would equate to around 600 snapshots. In addition to reading text, the device can also play back audio books in a number of supported formats such as MP3 and WAV. The Intel Reader is expected to be released next Tuesday." The device won't be speedy: "Intel says it takes about 30 seconds to process each page of text... It took... about 30 minutes to scan in the pages of a 250-page book and then one hour to process them."
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Intel's New E-Reader For the Visually Impaired

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  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @06:33PM (#30052710) Homepage Journal

    The N900 seems like it ought to have enough horsepower to do this job, perhaps slightly slower but I don't see why the device can't be reading and scanning at the same time. N900 has a 5MP, I'm sure a future iPhone will have an acceptable camera... et cetera. I'm curious if there's audio feedback to tell you if you're correctly framing the page.

  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @06:38PM (#30052768)

    The N900 seems like it ought to have enough horsepower to do this job

    Unfortunately, since an N900 can do other things as well, disability coverage won't pay for it. Insurers demand assistive devices be single-function, even if the devices have to be crippled to comply.

  • by tacarat (696339) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @06:47PM (#30052872) Journal
    Didn't some group sue Amazon over the Kindle's ability to read text out loud? Is Intel next on the hit list due to this? I mean, for $1,500 you could hire some poor, out of work, minstrel to walk around with you and read articles in real time.

    Granted, they are a bit clunkier than what most airlines allow for as carry on luggage items, but still.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @06:59PM (#30053040) Homepage Journal

    I'm looking forward to someone unlocking the reader SW from its Linux-driven dedicated HW. I'd like my webcam to read my books and magazines to me at home.

  • by schon (31600) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @07:52PM (#30053590)

    When I was at the 2001 Canadian copyright consultation, I spoke with a publisher about something just like this.

    We were arguing about DMCA-like amendments to copyright law. His position was that he should be able to prohibit *anything* that was capable of reading an e-book, because it would infringe his copyright. Even if that device would read ebooks to blind people. He told me that if he wanted to publish a version for blind people, he would, and that if he didn't, nobody should be allowed to make something that would do it for them.

    I asked him "if someone invented a device that read paper books to blind people, would you have the same opinion?" He said absolutely - as a publisher, it was his right to prevent people from reading his books if he didn't want them to - and if he didn't publish a braille version, blind people shouldn't be allowed to read them.

    I said "even though this would increase your audience, and thus your sales at no cost to you?", and he said "Absolutely. The books are *mine*, and something that allows blind people to read them is a violation of my copyright."

    Since then, I've never met a publisher that had a different attitude. They're all fucking batshit insane.

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