iCare Reader (To read out from paper based documents)
The inspiration for the iCare Reader was provided by focus groups of people who are blind, who asked CUbiC researchers for a reading machine that could be taken anywhere, and that was easier to use than the traditional flatbed scanning technology solutions that are available for accessing printed text.
The reader project has been progressing in three phases. The first phase involved the construction of a table-top iCARE Reader, the second phase a portable iCARE Reader, and the third phase a wearable iCARE Reader. The first phase prototypes have now been completed, and are deployed in educational institutions. The second phase prototypes have been constructed, evaluated, and we are now looking for an industry partner to produce the portable as a commercially available assistive technology. The final phase is currently our active area of research. We face the challenge of porting the easy to use iCARE Reader to a hand-held mobile platform, with a lower resolution. Such a system would mean that a non-technical person would be able to use the Reader in the manner that the focus groups intended (i.e. read their mail, recipes, user manuals, and the plethora of print material that is available).
It is our belief that if assistive devices such as the iCARE Reader were manufactured and made available to people who are blind, and prospective employers, they would provide a very effective tool to promote job readiness, successful job placement, and sustainable employment.
iLearn: IT-enabled Intelligent and Ubiquitous Access to Educational Opportunities for Blind Students NSF ITR-0326544