When Blind Will Read

l have so often criticized the posthuman naive predictions of Ray Kurzweil, that l feel happy to underline today one of his newest inventions. It is not one of those so called «magic gadgets» with so limited utility such as compact personnal computer, with too small keyboards for your fingers and too small screen for your eyes, or a new electronic book, or a flexible keyboard, or a mobile phones for Hollywood fictions, the excessive hopes of the web 2.0, or an internet votation. It is much more ambitious and magic, and nethertheless so promissing for the real desability of many human beings. It may allow blind people to read. It is just the kind of extraordinary new digital product, which let us believe in progress. Allow me to just present it here in Kurzweil's own words :

K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc. has released a pocket-sized cell phone that reads print to the blind and learning-disabled.

knfbREADER Mobile combines character-recognition and text-to-speech software and runs on a multifunctional Nokia N92 cell phone, using its 5 megapixel camera for capturing images

The knfbReader Mobile combines the research and development efforts of the National Federation of the Blind and Kurzweil Technologies, Inc., headed by CEO Ray Kurzweil, the inventor of the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind.

knfbREADER Mobile lets the blind read most printed and on-screen materials almost anywhere, while users who can see the screen and those with learning disabilities can enlarge, read, track, hear, and highlight printed materials using the phone's large, easy-to-read display.

Users can also use the audible screen reader for other phone functions, including making and receiving phone calls, contacts, GPS, Adobe PDF files, voice recorder, and music player controls.

Digital empowerment is challenging us for good and bad consequences. But when we come to digital technologies which may correct desabilities, we applaud the new technoscience.