Ray Kurzweil is a modern day genius when it comes to the study of artificial intelligence and the development of innovative uses for technology. He partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to develop the Kurzweil- National Federation of the Blind Reader, a PDA coupled with a camera that can read text on any object just by holding the Reader over the item. The Reader is expected to open a whole new world for the blind by speaking the observed text using clear synthesized speech.
- The Reader reads most printed documents, address labels, package information, and instructions with ease. It offers readers a choice of hearing a full page, or just a few lines for identification purposes.
- The Reader can store thousands of printed pages with easily obtainable extra memory and users can transfer files to their desktops and laptop computers or Braille notetakers.
- The Reader reads documents from computers or other devices.
- The Reader has a headphone jack so users don’t have to disturb others in close proximity.
- The Reader costs about the same as many flat screen televisions today, yet has the power to revolutionize a person’s life (expected list price $3,495).
The Reader will go on sale July 1 and sounds like a wonderful tool for those who need it most. The only bad thing about the Reader is the price which seems very high to me. I’m sure there is very good technology involved on the software side but the hardware is not that sophisticated, at least not $3500 worth. I suspect the price is so high because health insurance will likely be paying for most of the devices sold.