Ray Kurzweil is a giant in the accessibility industry. He has been inventing reading machines and devices used by people with visual- and reading disabilities for 35 years. His newest creation is the Blio eReader, digital-book-reading software.
Note: At the time of this writing, the Blio eReader is not yet available to the public. However, in a CNET interview (video below), Ray Kurzweil says it will be within one month.
Blio eReader Feature Highlights
- It combines full-color, digital content with Web content, video, and audio narration.
- It runs on Windows computers, tablets and mobile devices such as the iPhone.
- It is free, and has access to a million free books. (Presumably, there will be a store of books for sale.)
- Its catalog includes “cookbooks, travel guides, how-to books, schoolbooks, art books, children’s stories, and magazines”.
- Books can have interactive, multi-media content and quizzes.
Accessibility Features Good for People with Cognitive Disabilities
The Blio eReader:
- reads books aloud via either an accompanying, human-read audio track or via a text-to-speech reader;
- synchronizes its synthesized voices with “follow-along word highlighting”;
- has adjustable reading speed and font size;
- has a text-only mode good for minimizing distractions and also for displaying on small screens;
- uses a “3D book view which includes realistic page turning”; and
- can be connected to a personalized set of reference Web sites for “one-touch look-up of highlighted phrases”.
In the YouTube video below, CNET interviews Ray Kurzweil about the Blio eReader. A demonstration of it begins at about 2 minutes, 23 seconds (point 2:23). This video is not closed captioned.
- Blio eReader Web site (from which all quotes were taken)
- CES: Ray Kurzweil tries to build a better e-reader (CNET)
Note: No endorsement of the Blio eReader is intended or implied.