iPhone app ZoomReader provides cost effective alternative to more expensive devices

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Tuesday, 5 April 2011 13:54pm

The new iPhone app ZoomReader enables people who are blind or vision impaired to use their iPhone to convert images taken with their iPhone into text, and at a much more affordable cost than specialised devices with similar kinds of features.

Ai Squared, creators of screen magnification software for people who are vision impaired, including the highly popular screen reader and magnifier software ZoomText, developed ZoomReader after iPhone became the smartphone of choice for the blind and vision impaired community.

Here is how the app works:

  1. You take a picture of an object with your iPhone’s built-in camera
  2. ZoomReader will convert the image into text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology
  3. ZoomReader will read the text back to you using the integrated voice synthesizer

The app also allows you to change foreground and background colours of the text while also adjusting the magnification level. It also works with Apple’s built-in accessibility features such as Zoom and VoiceOver (see note).

The app is ideal for use on books, small print on receipts, boxes, menus or medication packets and more.

The app sells for A$23.99, a much more cost-effective option compared with specialised devices with the same kind of features, which can cost in excess of $1,000 according to Ai Squared.

ZoomReader will run on iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2 or later. According to Ai Squared support, ZoomReader will also run on the latest iPod Touch, however the quality of the camera in iPod Touch may adversely affect the quality of the converted image. They are yet to test the new app with the latest version of iPad.

Note: There is a reported bug in the current version where if you are running VoiceOver with the ‘hints’ feature turned off, many of the buttons will not be announced properly. VoiceOver users are advised to turn ‘hints’ on when using ZoomReader until this is fixed in the next release.

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