Visually impaired people have a very hard time when it comes to reading and interacting with the written word around them. A new app developed by the National Federation of the Blind and Ray Kurzweil, a well-known artificial-intelligence scientist and senior Google employee is seeking to remedy this problem.
Taking advantage of new pattern recognition and image processing technology, the app allows users to adjust or tilt the camera, and reads printed materials out loud. One feature I really liked was the ability to take pictures of menus, signs or small serial numbers and convert it to text. This text can then be blown up using really large fonts to assist people with moderate visual problems. People with refreshable Braille displays can now snap pictures of print documents and display them in Braille near-instantaneously, said NFB spokesman Chris Danielsen.
Some early adopters like Mark Feliz said “I just finished sorting today’s mail. What a great feeling I have to be able to accomplish this seemingly trivial task. I didn’t have to interrupt my son or daughter, I didn’t have to wait for a pair of eyes, and my wife does not have to spend time sorting. [...] As my students would say, 'The K-NFB Reader rocks!” Another user, Gordon Luke, tweeted that he was able to use the app to read his polling card for the Scottish Referendum.
The KNFB Reader app was designed for the Apple iPhone and an Android version is currently in the works.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
|The Kindle Voyage might be overpriced, but there appears to be plenty of demand for Amazon’s latest new Kindle, as shipping dates for pre-orders continue to slip farther and farther away. Three days ago when Amazon first started accepting pre-orders for the new Kindle Voyage, the release date was listed as October 21st. And if […]|
One of the joys of reading has always been the ability to share books with your loved ones –how many times have you found a new favourite book that you can’t wait to discuss with the people around you? While there have been band-aid solutions and workarounds for a while now, being able to share digital book purchases from Amazon hasn’t been possible… until now! Amazon’s new Family Library feature includes support for household sharing that extends to books, apps, Prime Instant videos, audiobooks, and games.
Taking their existing Kindle loan program a step further (that only allows books to be loaned once and for a limited time period), the Family Library will give up to six users the ability to share content (allowing two adults to manage up to four children). Cleverly, this feature will work on Kindle devices (including the Kindle Fire phones, tablets, and e-ink readers), but will also extend to any third-party device running Amazon’s apps.
While I do appreciate their need to limit the number of people the app can share with, the 2 adults/4 children number seems a bit arbitrary. I’ve always liked the approach that says ‘anybody using the same home network’, but I may be alone on this one.
Along with the Family Library announcement, Amazon also added the ability to create user profiles for Kindle devices (building on the FreeTime feature they already released that creates kid-safe sections of their tablets). This is a very nice feature for any families that share devices, allowing each user to save their preferences for things like screen brightness and progress through each book or video they have on the go.
Movies, music, and television shows are not included in the Family Library, but for the moment we will take what we can get! They may have to re-think that choice though, when competing services like those offered by Apple do include this content as well.
Do family sharing features like this make you more likely to choose an Amazon device (or even just use their app)?
The Summer months have officially drawn to a close and Fall is now upon us. There has been plenty of excellent fiction and non-fiction titles that kept us all busy at the cottage, beach or just curled up on the couch. Today, I take a look at the top five eBooks that riveted me the most. In the video below, I cover the entire list and give you my prospective on each one.