K-NFB Text Reader
The K-NFB Text Reader is a gadget made by inventor Raymond Kurzweil, who designed his first washing machine-sized reading machine in 1981. Developed for the visually impaired, it has a very unique function: it analyzes text and reads it aloud. It works by using a digital camera to capture the text after giving a "situation report" about what it can "see" to the user, who can use that information to decide whether "reading" is necessary. It can be used for anything from receipts to menus and directory signs. The audio can be routed through included headphones, a Bluetooth headset or speakers. It is not entirely without flaws (it has difficulty with white text on a black background, for example), but the performance is remarkable. Slated to go on sale in the UK next month, the device costs £2,625.