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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