Optical Character Recognition Systems
Optical character recognition (OCR) systems provide persons who are blind or visually impaired with the capacity to scan printed text and then have it spoken in synthetic speech or saved to a computer file. There are three essential elements to OCR technology—scanning, recognition, and reading text.
Initially, a printed document is scanned by a camera. OCR software then converts the images into recognized characters and words and creates temporary files containing the text’s characters and page layout. The recognition process takes account of the logical structure of the language. An OCR system will deduce that the word “tke” at the beginning of a sentence is a mistake and should be read as the word “the.” OCR systems also use a lexicon and apply spell-checking techniques similar to those found in many word processors. The synthesizer in the OCR system then speaks the recognized text. Finally, the information is stored in an electronic form. In some OCRs these temporary files can be converted into formats retrievable by commonly used computer software such as word processors, spreadsheets, and databases. A person who is blind or visually impaired can access the scanned text by using adaptive technology devices that magnify the computer screen or provide speech or braille output.
Current generation OCR systems provide very good accuracy and formatting capabilities at prices that are up to ten times lower than a few years ago. The price for the most popular PC-based OCR systems is about $1,000. This does not include the personal computer and screen access equipment. Prices of self-contained OCR systems and those that come bundled with a PC range from $3,500 to $5,500.
Here are some questions to ask when purchasing optical character recognition systems:
• Do you prefer a stand-alone OCR product or a software-based product?
• Is the software-based OCR system compatible with your computer’s operating system?
• Do you require screen-reading capabilities in addition to the OCR?
• Do you require braille output?
21 Products in Category
Complete Reading System
Extreme Reader ER1
Extreme Reader XR1
Extreme Reader XR10
Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader
Optical Braille Recognition
SARA Scanning and Reading Appliance
Simon Reading Machine
Text Cloner Pro