New Device Helps To Open New World For Blind - - The News for South Mississippi

New Device Helps To Open New World For Blind

The Kurzweil National Federation for the Blind reader is a device that was designed to open up a world of everyday possibilities to the visually impaired.

"Kurzweil, back in the early 70s, created a handheld reader, but it was the size of a washing machine. But since technology has evolved, we've teamed up with the National Federation of the Blind, Kurzweil and us, they've come out with this new cutting edge software which takes a five megapixel Canon camera, and it integrates into a PDA," says National Federation of the Blind Gulf Coast chapter president Kendrick Kennedy.

You simply hold the reader over printed materials, and in seconds, the camera takes a picture and begins reading back the documents, be it a term paper, a business card, or even a restaurant receipt.

The reader can store thousands of printed pages, which comes in handy for this college student.

"Now it gives me the ability to snap those pictures and have that text processed, or snap the pictures and put it into my home computer and be able to know what the professor was talking about at the time," says Kennedy.

But Kennedy says while this device was developed for the visually impaired, it is not limited to them.

"It's real valuable to a blind person, but not only to blind people, to people with dyslexia, people that are not as strong reading as some others," says Kennedy. 

So, while it can cater to various groups of people, the purpose of it is simple - to help open doors and allow people to become more independent.

The retail price for this device - nearly $3500.

If you would like more information on the reader or the local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, please call (228) 424-4653.

By Karla Redditte

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