Last week, the big news was that several universities decided not to support the Kindle (or similar e-readers, presumably) because they are not accessible or friendly to blind and visually impaired students. Intel has stepped up this week though with an innovative device to help those with visual impairments read and hear the written word easier!
Intel’s device is works in a few ways. You can use just the standalone device to snap pictures of text, which can be blown up on the screen for easier viewing or converted to audio for listening. There will also be an optional capture station for converting larger amounts of text into the device.
This device sounds truly brilliant. Assuming they do not run into the same objections that Amazon did over text to speech, it opens up a whole new level of accessibility. This device covers more than just blindness; it can also help with learning disabilities like dyslexia, and assist people as they begin to struggle with a whole spectrum of visual impairment. Intel obviously put a great deal of thought into the design, making it small and portable, with buttons designed to be tactile and talking menus to make it easy to navigate even if you are totally blind. I highly recommend watching the above video for a full walk through of everything it can do.
Unfortunately, the whole setup is not cheap. It is $1,499, and an additional $399 for the capture station. But the potential to assist people with education and careers certainly makes it worthwhile. This is definitely one of those products that makes you proud to see how technology can truly impact someone’s world!