Another Assistive Gadget for Gary

This device isn’t exactly cutting-edge new, but since it isn’t, the price was a bit more affordable. Gary bought this gadget with his work budget in an attempt to help him read books and articles for his job. It is called the Intel Reader and it is a type of assistive technology that helps the hard-of-seeing.  Here is a link for more info.  

We’ve set up the stand on a small desk in Gary’s office where I can scan the things he wants while I’m at the office, but the machine itself has a carrying case and is intended to be taken to the library.  In a nutshell, it takes a photo of a written page, converts it to text, then uses a speech synthesizer to read it out loud.  (If you use earphones, the librarian won’t yell at you!)

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Along the way, it saves all the intermediate files, including a .txt file.  This is where I come in and add value to these processed pages because, well, sometimes that machine can’t tell a capital I from the digit 1, or it thinks “well” is “we eleven.”  In other words, sometimes it just produces nonsense, so  I take the text files and copy them into a word processor (I use Google Docs) that has built-in spell checking.  This helps find the places where the machine has not done a good job in the processing and I can quickly fix the problems.  If it does a really bad job, I have to retype portions, or sometimes do the whole process over again and re-scan the particular page.

Once I’ve completed the post-processing, I send the the files to Gary.  He already has a nice, smaller reading machine that he uses to listen to audio books, mp3 files, PDFs, etc, so he uploads the files into this little machine and can listen to the book or article.

Of course, the machine is not really smart enough to deal with diagrams or complicated tables, so Gary still likes to keep the original on hand to examine diagrams with his magnifying glass.

We have a couple colleagues on campus who are blind or legally blind, so we can let them use it too.

 

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