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

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 Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['kis' in gap]> on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @06:30PM (#30052678)

    The raw features somehow make the $1500 seem odd. The admittedly unwieldy equivalent built out of commodity parts is basically a 5-megapixel camera that transfers its data over USB (can be had for under $100 these days), and a netbook (~$300), for a total of ~$400 of hardware. What's the extra $1100 for? The integration into a nice portable package? Development costs of a proprietary OCR/voicesynth pipeline?

  • oh, bother. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @06:44PM (#30052828) Journal

    Now we have yet another device waiting to be demonized by the copyright nazis.

  • by theaveng ( 1243528 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @07:01PM (#30053048)

    The extra $1100 is for Intel to pay their legal defense fund when the Authors' Guild sues them for violating their authors' "performance rights".

    I'm serious. The Guild has already sued Amazon for creating a Kindle that reads books out loud.

  • by kidblast ( 413235 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @07:19PM (#30053230)

    The braille on the drive through bank ATMs is because it would be more expensive to create two types of buttons (braille and without) and know ahead of time where the ATM would be installed.

    This was discussed in Freakonomics IIRC.

  • by John Whitley ( 6067 ) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @07:33PM (#30053392) Homepage

    Aside from the fact that you're a troll, there's a deeper meme here worth debunking: that accessibility features are just for the "impaired".

    Gregg Vanderheiden gave the closing plenary talk at the SIGCHI [] 2001 conference. The subject was how creative integration of accessibility features can greatly improve functionality for all users, including examples of products originally designed for people with impairments which went on to wider commercial success. As an example of this kind of thinking, with portable devices (mobile phones, music players, PDAs) we're all "blind" at some time or another -- we cannot or do not want to redirect our visual attention to the device. So what happens when the normal function of the device includes cues to operation that don't require vision (via audio, haptics, etc.)? The device becomes more useful to everyone, including those with visual impairment. Likewise, by including design elements that work when users can't hear a device that device is more useful to both the hearing impaired and to users in loud environments.

    There's a summary of this presentation with more details here: [] Scroll down past the stuff about Bill Gates' opening keynote (which was utterly lame in comparison to Vanderheiden's talk, IMO).

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger