Intel Reader Takes Printed Text and Reads It Aloud

Intel is rolling out a device aimed at helping people with reading disabilities or blindness hear the written word. The Intel Reader takes printed text and reads it aloud, and can be combined with Intel's Portable Capture Station, which collects and stores large amounts of text, such as book chapters or entire books. The goal is give the 55 million U.S. citizens with reading disabilities access to the books and other printed texts that everyone can read, according to Intel's Digital Health Group.

Intel is introducing a mobile device designed to help people who have difficulty reading printed text.

Intel's Reader device, which is about the size of a paperback book and is powered by Intel's Atom processor, takes printed text, converts it to digital text and then reads it out loud to the reader.

The Intel Reader, introduced Nov. 10, can be used in conjunction with the chip maker's Portable Capture Station, which can take and store large amounts of text-such as the chapter of a book or an entire book-to be read later.

The Reader includes a high-resolution camera that lets users point, shoot and listen to the printed text being read.

The device is aimed at helping those with such reading impairments as dyslexia or who have vision problems, including blindness. There are about 55 million people in the United States with disabilities that make difficult or impossible to read printed text, according to Intel.

The idea for the Intel Reader came from Ben Foss, an Intel researcher who was diagnosed in elementary school as having dyslexia symptoms. According to Intel, he got through high school, college and graduate school by having people read the text to him or by struggling to read himself.

"As someone who is part of this dyslexic community, I am thrilled to be able to help level the playing field for people who, like me, do not have easy access to the printed word," Foss said in a statement. "Feelings of loneliness are often the experience of not being able to read easily. We have to open the doors for people in these communities."

The device was built by Intel's Digital Health Group. It's been endorsed by the International Dyslexia Association, and Intel is working with a host of groups-including the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs and the Council for Exceptional Children-in developing technologies to help people with reading disabilities.

The Intel Reader will be available through a number of resellers, including CTL, Don Johnson Inc., GTSI, Howard Technology Solutions and HumanWare.