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The KNFB Reader lets users photograph printed material, then reads it back… The possibilities of a ‘portable eye’ – The Boston Globe.

When Peter Alan Smith pulls out his phone in a crowded Back Bay restaurant, there’s no clue that his Nokia is by far the most expensive mobile phone in the entire place. He has about $2,400 in software loaded onto the $600 device.

But then it becomes apparent what’s unique about Smith’s phone: A flash goes off when he snaps a picture of the menu, and a few seconds later, his phone has translated the page of text into speech, and started reciting the options through his earpiece at a rapid clip.

Smith developed a degenerative eye disease when he was 18, and he is now legally blind. It has been about two decades since he could read a restaurant menu independently. He first heard about the phone on a podcast series called “Blind Cool Tech” and took out a low-interest loan to buy it.

More:
Make Pt1089
Let There Be Speech. How do you make a $200 computer for blind kids? By Fernando Botelho… MAKE 03 – page 40.