Inventor Ray Kurzweil has shipped a £2,625 handheld device for blind people that you aim at any text and it reads aloud. I saw a demo of this at the Singularity Summit in Stanford last month and it really worked -- mindblowingly well. The audience loved the demo -- Kurzweil aimed it at a copy of his book on the podium and let it read aloud.
The K-NFB gives the user an initial "situation report", describing what it can see. The user then makes a decision about whether to take a picture.
After a few seconds to process the image, the contents of the document are read aloud.
A set of earbuds come as standard, but the sound could also be routed through a Bluetooth headset or a set of speakers.
Sight & Sound says it will help with the ad-hoc reading of documents such as bills and receipts, instructions on food packaging or medication or emergency evacuation notices in hotels.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
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