Review of the Intel Reader: Adaptive Reading Technology for the Blind and Dyslexic
What Is the Intel Reader?
A few years ago the computer chip manufacturer Intel and the multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE), came together to form Care Innovations. This companies policy is to create various technologies for the health care sector.
The Intel Reader is one of that companies first products.
Originally created by a law graduate who graduated law school despite being dyslexic the Intel Reader is a portable, lightweight high resolution camera with a dedicated text to speech computer built in.
How does it work?
The operation of the Intel Reader is very simple.
After switching on the device, one lines up the text that one wants to capture and read. Click a single button. The reader then plays a short note to tell you the image was captured and after several seconds one can press play and the reader reads the text to you via either earphones or a built in loudspeaker.
Who Can Use The Intel Reader?
Anyone can use the Intel Reader. Though it was initially designed for the dyslexic student, I use my own Intel Reader daily. I am visually impaired with some severe disability. I use it to read my textbooks as I am a graduate student studying for my MA History.
It can also be used by anyone who loves reading on the move. The Intel Reader comes with built in software to create MP3 audio files. If you have a large collection of printed material that you want to create a backup, the Intel Reader could provide you with a means to digitize and save paper based materials to portable audio files.
How Much Does it Cost?
Most adaptive technology like the Intel Reader costs around $1,500. The Intel Reader is today available from several sources at below $1,000.
One should also seriously consider buying the portable Capture Station. Priced around $400
This device gives you a flat bed to arrange your books or papers to scan. I find it a must use item when scanning large numbers of pages in textbooks as it provides me with controls away from the reader itself that I can use while holding down the text.
As with much new technology the Intel Reader does have some quirks.
First it only reads printed text in a narrow range of fonts. It won't read a handwritten note or Italic script, so footnotes and such are difficult for it to read.
The reader also does not save the book page numbers. When you scan it counts the first page of it's scan as one. So if you require to quote page numbers you need to make a careful note elsewhere.
It only reads English at the moment. Hopefully there will be a multi-lingual Intel Reader in the near future.
Personal Thoughts About the Intel Reader
I have owned an Intel Reader since August 2011. I am very happy with the product and customer support from Care Innovations.
I had one glitch where the reader refused to work after a long scanning session. It was a known problem which was easily fixed by downloading a software patch. That problem should now be in the past as the software was updated on the newer models.
The reader has given me independence. I can now buy a textbook and scan it at home and have sections ready for my class. Previously I had to buy the textbook, send it to the school disabled services who would pull the textbook apart to scan each page. Then give me a series of CD-ROM's with the text in PDF and return the destroyed text to me.
Now I have a textbook that I can sell back to the bookstore and I can take the text anywhere with me either on the reader or as an MP3 file om my personal MP3 player.
This is a personal product review. I have not received payment from Care Innovations or any Supplier of their products for this review.
I am not employed by any company linked to this product.
Other Writings on Disability and Technology
- What is it like to Go Blind? - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com
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- Living with Disability: My Life with Blindness
What is it like to go blind? My own personal story of drifting into the realm of the blind.
- Succeed as a Disabled Student
Being a student is tough. Being a blind Student is tough. Being a blind-adult student while working part-time is tough. Here are a few tips to help you make the grade. Best thing is, most apply to both able bodied and disabled student.
- Screen Readers for the Blind and Dyslexic
Using a computer is possible for the blind. Here are some examples of the Best and worst, in my opinion, screen readers available for use with a PC.