DaVinci and Others

I saw an advertisement for the daVinci CCTV. My low vision specialist had initially suggested a daVinci but the daVinci is not portable. That would not have worked for me.

davinci-electronic-magnifier
DaVinci is a high performance desktop video magnifier (CCTV), featuring Full HD, selective text-to-speech (OCR) and a 3-in-1 camera.

davinci-woman-applying-makeup

The da Vinci has some other, cool features such as self-viewing with the camera. With up to 77x magnification that probably makes it the world’s most powerful make-up mirror.?

 

 

It also has built-in ‘OCR’. If you have no idea what that is, you are not alone. Or at least you were not alone until about half an hour ago when I looked it up.

OCR is optical character recognition. According to Wikipedia, OCR is most widely used in scanning documents. Big Business and Big Brother use it in data mining. It is also used in – wait for it – text to speech. In other words OCR is what allows a machine to read to you. In fact, creating reading devises for the visually impaired was an impetus for the creation and improvements in OCR. Cool. Nice give and take, huh?

Of course, the beginnings were pretty modest. In 1914 (Wow! Really?), a guy named Emanuel Goldberg invented a machine that ‘read’ individual letters and converted them into Morris code. Another guy, Edmund Fournier d’Albe invented a machine that ‘read’ letters and produced corresponding musical tones.

Hang in there; just a bit more on the history lesson. The little bit more is the Kurzwell Reader. That product was unveiled in 1976. If you were working in special ed, or getting ready to work in the field as I was at that time, you may remember the Kurzwell Reader. We thought it was amazing. Unfortunately it was not portable and it was not cheap.

So fast forward to 2016. The daVinci has OCR. The KNFB Reader my habilitation person wants me to have for my iPad has OCR. In fact, a lot of things have OCR in their software. When I searched for OCR in the App Store I got dozens of hits. Some of them were expensive, like the KNFB Reader for $100, but some of them were free……and some of them translate Japanese and Lithuanian, but we are not interested in that at the moment.

Stray thought: if your iPad can read and translate multiple languages, can the universal translator a la Star Trek be close behind? Live well and prosper. Look for products that say OCR. Might help.

Next: Boot camp

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