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New Technology Helps the Blind Browse the Web

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, October 29, 1998

Helping the blind browse the web. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. The web is a visual medium. A wide variety of text and graphics and forms fill the screen. Finding ways to help people who can't see navigate the web isn't easy. But at the IBM Tokyo Research Lab, some new technology has been developed that is effective and affordable. The IBM Home Page Reader is a talking web browser. (sound) Chieko Asakawa, is one of the researchers responsible for the technology...

"I'm a user, I'm blind and I have been been using some systems to access the web, and I have been frustrated to access the web since it took time and I couldn't understand page content very well because previous systems couldn't read home pages very clearly."

The Home Page Reader reads plain text in a male voice and hyperlinks in a female voice. And it uses a quick reading method of text to speech. It makes it easier for blind users to fill out online forms as well...

"I can do online shopping maybe using Amazon or whatever I want."

The software should be available in January for under 150 dollars. It runs on a standard Windows Pentium. You can find more information at ibm.com/sns.