High Tech Gadget Reads For The Blind - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/6/08

High Tech Gadget Reads For The Blind

We don't think about it, but wouldn't we be surprised to see a count of the number of words we read every day. So, imagine if you couldn't read any of that. Now, that might help you appreciate a new high tech gadget that is giving blind people more independence.

Like so many people, Chris Danielsen gets a lot of mail. The only difference is he can't see it.

"Normally, as a blind person you have to sort of put your mail aside when you get home and then get somebody to read it or go through it with you later." Danielsen said.

But now thanks to a small device, he can read the mail himself.

"Usually, within a few seconds of the Document Reader reading it, I can actually determine whether it's something I need to keep or not."  Said Danielsen.

The Document Reader, from the National Federation of the Blind, combines a digital camera with a small computer.

"All you do is basically put the camera down right on top of a document, that's the best way, and then raise it up above and snap the picture." said James Gashel,

This high tech device reads various printed formats, from the money in your wallet to the cereal box in your cupboard.

Gashel adds, "It'll read it just as well upside down as it would right side up or it would read it just fine sideways."

What makes the reader revolutionary is its portable.

"You're traveling, you go into a hotel room or a hotel restaurant, there is a menu there that you can't otherwise read, but not anymore." says Danielsen.

More than three million Americans are living with very low vision or blindness. But with the aging of the Baby Boomers, the National Federation of the Blind predicts that by the year 2020, as many as five-and-a-half million people will have some sort of serious vision impairment.

The NFB teamed up with the inventor to make the blind reader accessible. It cost about $3300 dollars. For more information, click here or call 877-708-1724.

 

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