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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

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?

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There are 19 Products in the Category

Product Table

Product NameProduct DescriptionDistributor ContactImage/Multimedia Available?
Cicero Text Reader Scans printed documents and turns them into speech or braill... www.synapseadaptive.com/dolphin/cicero.htm
ClearReader+Portable text-to-speech and OCR reading and scanning device.... Order ClearReader+ from The Chicago Lighthouse Store
ClearReader+ AdvancedCombines text-to-speech and OCR reading/scanning device with... Order ClearReader+ Advanced from The Chicago Lighthouse Store
ClearReader+ BasicText-to-speech and OCR reading and scanning device. Allows u... Order ClearReader+ Basic from The Chicago Lighthouse Store
Eye-Pal® Ace PlusPortable scanner, reader, and video magnifier in one lightwe...
Eye-Pal® ReaderFoldable and lightweight scanning and reading appliance that... www.freedomscientific.com
Eye-Pal® VisionFast, accurate, and easy-to-use scanning and reading applian... www.freedomscientific.com
iReader Reading DeviceCompact and portable lightweight reading device that scans a... www.braillerdepot.com/ireader.html
KNFB ReaderThe KNFB Reader iOS app is tailored to the specific needs of...
Kurzweil 1000 Converts print into speech. Scans books, articles and bills,... sales@cambiumtech.com
Kurzweil 3000 Displays printed or electronic text on the computer screen. ... sales@cambiumtech.com
OpenBook Scans and converts printed documents or graphics-based text ... www.freedomscientific.com/
Poet Compact 2All-in-one reading machine that can read any kind of printed... www.baumusa.com
Poet Compact 2+All-in-one reading machine that can read virtually any kind ... www.baumusa.com
SARA Scanning and Reading ApplianceStand-alone reading machine that allows users to scan and re... www.freedomscientific.com/
Simon Reading MachineNew version of the Pronto stand-alone reading machine with a... http://www.sensorytools.com/simon.htm http://www.lssproducts.com/product/Simon-Scanning-And-Reading-Machine/reading-machines
Smart ReaderLightweight, portable full-page OCR system. May be connected... Order Smart Reader from The Chicago Lighthouse Store Multimedia
Text Cloner ProScanning software designed to work with a user’s existing sc... https://www.maxiaids.com/text-cloner-pro https://www.enablemart.com/text-cloner-pro#product_tabs_technical
ZoomText ImageReader 1.2Software and camera solution makes printed text accessible t... www.aisquared.com

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