Kurzweil to release free interactive Blio e-reader with access features

Friday, 8 January 2010 14:26pm

Kurzweil, best known for its development of SMS on mobile phones and assistive technology products, will release a free PC e-reader application called the Blio that includes access features and a million free books.

The application differs from other e-readers in that it uses both speech and a visual representation of a book, highlighting the text as the narrator readers through it. Based on PDF files, the voice is either pre-recorded and read out with the story, or the application uses high quality text-to-speech to deliver the audio content. 

The Blio was demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where it displayed a virtual hardcover copy of the Three Little Pigs children’s book, with pictures and animations being highlighted as the pre-recorded narrator read out the story.  

By making the experience both audio and visual based, the Blio is accessible to a variety of disabilities as the text can be visually read on the screen, read out by pre-recorded narration or as computerised text-to-speech software. The highlighting of the text as the book is read out is also designed to assist people with learning disabilities, and improve learning outcomes of children. A million books will be available free with the initial release of the application, with additional books available for purchase.

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