New smartphone app gives sight to the blind

sightSAN FRANCISCO – Jonathan Mosen, who has been blind since birth, spent his evening snapping photos of packages in the mail, his son’s school report and labels on bottles in the fridge. In seconds, he was listening to audio of the printed words the camera captured, courtesy of a new app on his Apple Inc iPhone.

“I couldn’t believe how accurate it was,” said Mosen, an assistive technology consultant from New Zealand.

The new app that allows blind people to listen to an audio readback of printed text is receiving rave reviews after its first day of availability and is being heralded as a life-changer by many people.

Blind people say the KNFB Reader app will enable a new level of engagement in everyday life, from reading menus in restaurants to browsing handouts in the classroom.

The $99 app is the result of a four decades-long relationship between the National Federation of the Blind and Ray Kurzweil, a well-known artificial-intelligence scientist and senior Google employee. According to its website, K-NFB Reading Technology Inc and Sensotec NV, a Belgium-based company, led the technical development of the app.  More

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