Cell Phone That Reads to Blind or Dyslexics Ready to Change Lives

First Cell Phone that Reads to the Blind and Dyslexic Released by Joint Venture of Kurzweil Technologies and the National Federation of the Blind
Press Release

K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc., a company combining the research
and development efforts of the National Federation of the Blind and
Kurzweil Technologies, Inc., today unveils an exciting product line
that will revolutionize access to print for anyone who has difficulty
seeing or reading print, including the blind and learning disabled.
The company’s world-renowned reading software has been especially
designed for and paired with the Nokia N82 mobile phone to create the
smallest text-to-speech reading device in history. A press conference
to demonstrate the Reader Mobile product line, including the
knfbREADER and the kREADER, will be held on January 28 at 10:00 a.m.
The demonstration will take place in the Columbia Room, Holiday Inn
Capitol, 550 C Street, SW, Washington, DC.

This truly pocket-size Reader enables users to take pictures of
and read most printed materials at the push of a button. Blind users
hear the contents of the document read in clear synthetic speech,
while users who can see the screen and those with learning
disabilities can enlarge, read, track, and highlight printed materials
using the phone’s large and easy-to-read display. The combination of
text-to-speech and tracking features makes interpreting text much
easier for individuals with learning disabilities.

Using the state-of-the-art Nokia N82 cell phone running on the
powerful Symbian operating system with its integrated high-resolution
camera, the Reader puts the best available character-recognition
software together with text-to-speech conversion technology–all in a
device that fits in the palm of your hand. The product includes
Kurzweil’s unique intelligent image processing software to enhance
real-world images captured by a handheld device.

K reader for blind and dyslexics

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the
Blind, said: “The knfbREADER Mobile will allow the blind unprecedented
access to the printed word, affording a level of flexibility and
capability never before available. No other device in the history of
technology has provided such portability and quick access to print
materials. The NFB promotes equal opportunity for the blind, and this
Reader will make blind people dramatically more independent. The
result will be better performance at work, at school, at home, and
everywhere else we go. This Reader will substantially improve the
quality of life for the growing number of blind people and people who
are losing vision, including seniors.”

Blind users will have access to all of the functions featured in
the most advanced cell phones on the market including video and music
playback, GPS, wireless communications, photography, e-mail, text
messaging, calendar and task functions, and more. The combination
Reader and cell phone weighs 4.2 ounces and can store thousands of
printed pages with easily obtainable extra memory. Users can transfer
files to computers or Braille notetakers in seconds.

“The knfbREADER Mobile allows me immediate access to printed
information, whether it be a menu or a letter,” said James Gashel,
vice president of business development for K-NFB Reading Technology,
Inc. and a blind user of the product. “So many people already carry
cell phones. This innovation is exciting because it puts all of the
functions that users need into one product, eliminating the need to
carry multiple devices. The Reader’s simple user interface makes it
ideal for the growing number of blind seniors.”

“Technology that enlarges the printed word or converts it to
speech has dramatically improved the lives of millions of Americans
with many types of disabilities, enabling them to read and comprehend
printed materials to which they never before had access,” said Ray
Kurzweil, President and CEO of K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc. “This
innovation has created opportunities disabled people had never
considered before due to the large amounts of reading required in
certain occupations. The first machine of this type was the size of a
washing machine. As optical character recognition technology is
integrated into smaller and smaller devices, access to print becomes
available almost instantaneously.”

About the National Federation of the Blind

With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the
Blind is the largest and most influential membership organization of
blind people in the United States. The NFB improves blind people’s
lives through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs
encouraging independence and self-confidence. It is the leading force
in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation’s blind. In
January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of the Blind
Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in the
United States for the blind led by the blind.

About K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc.

K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc. is a joint venture between Kurzweil
Technologies, headed by CEO Ray Kurzweil, a thirty-year innovator and
pioneer in assistive technologies and the inventor of the first
print-to-speech reading machine for the blind; and the National
Federation of the Blind, the largest, most influential membership
organization of blind people in the United States. The company’s
latest products, the Mobile Reader Product Line, which includes the
knfbREADER Mobile, designed for blind and low vision individuals, and
the kREADER Mobile, designed for use by sighted individuals with
reading difficulties, is being launched in January of 2008. The
products are distributed in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, and the
Pacific Rim. For more information, please visit