Until optical character recognition systems came along, the printed page was an insurmountable obstacle to acquiring information for people with severe vision loss. Unless it was transcribed into braille or read aloud, printed text was totally inaccessible. Optical character recognition systems are devices that can scan any normally printed information, discern the separate characters presented, and convert that information to a digital format. From there, on a computer, the text can be displayed in an audio format, enlarged, converted to braille, or presented in whatever manner best suits the reader with vision loss. Not only has this product revolutionized reading for people with vision loss, optical character recognition systems have been applied with much success in a variety of other arenas. AFB TECH monitors the progress of this technology very closely and continually evaluates the latest models for accuracy and ease of use.

Product Evaluations

Scanning and Reading on the Move: A Review of Zoom-Ex and Zoom-Twix, AccessWorld®, Vol. 9, No. 2, January 2008.

Reading by Hand: A Review of the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader, AccessWorld®, Vol. 7, No. 6, November 2006.

More Than One Way to Read: A Review of Kurzweil 1000 and OpenBook, AccessWorld®, Vol. 7, No. 4, July 2006.

Simply Out Scanning: A Review of SARA and ScannaR, AccessWorld®, Vol. 6, No. 6, November 2005.