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Perkins Unveils Talking "Reader"

This article is more than 12 years old.

The Perkins School for the Blind showed off some new technology yesterday for people with visual impairments.

The K-NFB Reader Mobile is a multi-functional cell phone that can take a picture of any document, convert it into text, and then into speech.

Kurzweil Technologies and the National Federation for the Blind created the new, portable device, based on one that used to be the size of a washing machine and priced around $50,000.

Now this new version costs $2,100 and fits into your pocket, says Gayle Yarnall, the Director of Adaptive Technology, a division of Perkins products.

Most importantly, Yarnell adds, it gives blind people more freedom, "I could go into a hotel room and read the room service menu or just explore the various options in that hotel that all of the rest of the life I used to pretend weren't there."

Starting this week, the Perkins School for the Blind, in Watertown, is selling the cell phone reader in the northeast.

For a conversation about how this new technology fits into the school's mission, WBUR's Delores Handy turns to Perkins' president Steven Rothstein.

This program aired on April 25, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

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