While Braille has opened the world of reading to blind people long ago, it’s still impossible to read street signs, menus in most restaurants, and just about any text meant for the sighted. Now a new iPhone app called KNFB Reader has been released that is able to read out loud any text, whether it be on paper or on a sign. Simply point the phone toward an object with text on it and have the app snap a picture. The app automatically recognizes the text in the shot and starts reading it to the user. Additionally, the app can send the text it’s seeing to refreshable Braille displays for reading it that way.
The app was developed by K-NFB Reading Technology Inc, a collaboration between Kurzweil Technologies and the National Federation of the Blind, and Sensotec, a Belgian company. It costs a hefty $100 and currently only available for iOS devices. An Android release is also being planned.
Here’s a feature list from the app’s description on iTunes:
• Fast, accurate, and efficient mobile text recognition that delivers near instantaneous results.
• Reading modes for books, articles and labels, bills and memos.
• Synchronized text highlighting with high quality speech and Braille output.
• Field of view report to assist with aligning the camera relative to the document.
• Tilt guidance feature to assist with capturing the perfect picture of a document.
• Automatic text detection to enable hands-free operation.
• Ability to import, OCR, and read image-based pdf and jpg files
• Export txt and html formatted text files to cloud storage services including Dropbox and Google Drive.
• Batch scan mode to process and read multiple pages.
• Recognize and read text in multiple languages; please visit our website for details.
• Additional features including language translation, text editing, and more coming soon.
Here’s a video demo of the app’s capabilities:
Product page: KNFB Reader…
Download on iTunes: KNFB Reader…