KNFB Reader app – Take a photo then have text read aloud

KNFB iphone app

knfbReader by Sensotec nv – View of the iPhone screen with a scanned document and output

I received a free version of the app through my role on the British Dyslexia Association’s New Technologies Committee and I love it!  For my own personal use (dyslexia rather than VI), I’ve historically relied on apps such as Prizmo or ClaroSpeak (with OCR addon). I started using this app a few months ago and for me this app is a big step up for two reasons:
1. Exceptionally fast user experience
2. Exceptional accuracy

1. Exceptionally fast user experience

The app’s purpose is essentially the same as Prizmo / ClaroSpeak (with OCR addon) / CapturaTalk.  However, the main advantage for me is that the time from snapping the photo and to starting to hear it being read aloud is a couple of seconds on my old iPhone 4S, and instantaneous on my iPhone 6.  They do this by:
a) Having an auto-read function, so as soon as it has text from the photo it reads aloud to you, without you having to press another button.
b) Starting to read before the whole page has been analysed.  As soon as it’s recognised the first sentence it starts to read that aloud.

The user interface is really nice – open the app, hold it above the page and press one button!  Then sit back and relax while the page is read to you.  This is a big plus for day-to-day use.

2. Exceptional accuracy

From my non-scientific playing with the app, the OCR accuracy appears to be at least as good as (and I think better than) ClaroSpeak’s OCR addon, and it is much better than Prizmo.

So money-no-object it wins hands down for me – an ideal example of an app that does only one thing and does it very well. Cost £79.99 for the iPhone
Neil Cottrell
LexAble

f.lux and eyestrain – cool colours for the day and warm for the evening.

screen view of tintIf you are struggling with eye strain, because of screen glare, then the application ‘f.lux‘ may help you. The software changes the colour temperature of your screen based on the time of day. Daylight has a considerable amount of blue light; whereas sunset and late evening have much warmer tones. F.lux changes the screen from daylight settings to sunset or late evening settings. The application has a basis for its development within research – the negative impact of blue or day light on a person reading at night.

I downloaded the application and have already found it has had a positive impact on my eye strain. The initial setup did not take long but the changing of your location can be a bit clunky and you will need to check the longitude and latitude of your location. I’d recommend just typing the name of the village, town or city that you live in into Google asking for the longitude and latitude. Once setup the application runs unobtrusively in the background.

I would still recommend running f.lux in conjunction with altering your screens brightness or contrast. The application also has a feature that enables you to override the settings temporarily in case you need to do colour work – graphic designers, reprographics and commercial print companies will need to take note.

Free for Windows.(also available for Mac, Linux , and iPhone/iPad)

Here is some more information about eyestrain and computer screens from Wired

Neil
Course or Programme of Study: PhD in Computer Science

Extra note

“‘During the daylight hours, f.lux keeps your monitor relatively cool with a default color temperature of 6500K. Your brain tends to associate blue light with daylight. At night, f.lux dials down the color temperature to a warmer, more yellow glow (3400K). You can also choose from presets (Candle, Tungsten, Halogen, Fluorescent, and Daylight) or adjust the settings to another specific preference. In general, the yellower the light, the less straining it is on your eyes’”

Google Drive for online storage and collaboration

google drive

Google Drive is an online tool which uses your Google account to store files online and can also be used to share files with other people and work on projects together. Being able to join in with a few others to work on a project and be able to take a break and have work still done is really useful.

Google Drive is able to create files, even from your desktop, and pick the permissions of who is allowed to edit it. More than one person can work on the file at the same time and the service has a chat panel for the people working in it, so that they can communicate. Everyone working on the file is given a colour and it shows who is typing when multiple people are working. Google Drive can also use documents from other applications to help create a project such as Google docs and Google sheets.

Google Drive is compatible Windows Vista, XP, 7, 8
Mac, mavericks (10.9), Mountain Lion (10.8), Lion (10.7)
Linux can access Google Drive through the website but the software is not available on the system
android 4.0+ and iOS 7.0+ are able to use Google drive, android 2.3-3.2 and iOS 6.0+ Can only view the files
Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer run Google Drive but require Java script

Tom, Mathematics

Siri for Calendar and Time Management.

siri screengrab

Siri asked to check appointments on 22nd September

Siri is brilliant for calendar management and time/task management, but underused, you can verbally manage your calendar/ tasks which, I personally find reduces the burden on my working memory and is more intuitive .  The speed of which I can set myself a reminder by taking the phone out of my pocket rather than searching for a pen and paper which I inevitably end up losing anyway is astounding!  I really like iOS accessibility. I definitely find low maintenance strategies with gainful upsides work well.

Useful wikihow page on how to turn on Siri

John Hodgson
Study Needs Assessor

TextHelp Read & Write Gold with Screenshot Reader grabbing references

TextHelp Read and Write Gold

I have been using TextHelp Read and Write Gold with Screenshot Reader for many years and today it was brilliant as I needed to grab some references from a PowerPoint presentation that was online.  The references were inaccessible and I really did not want to copy them all out!  I highlighted the area around the references, grabbed the content and the Text Reader window appeared.  I selected the text that had virtually kept its correct layout – Copy all and paste (Ctrl+A  and Ctrl+ V) they were added to the blog I was writing and I was able to acknowledge the original authors of the presentation and have an accessible version of their references!  See the result on our Arabic Symbol Dictionary blog!

I should add this can be achieved with any screen grab and text conversion program and programs such as ClaroRead

E.A. – Researcher – University of Southampton.

Use StudyBlue App to Create Review Flashcards

add content

Add content

choose study mode

Choose study mode

select no of cards to test

Select the number of cards

Studyblue testing

StudyBlue testing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

StudyBlue is a great virtual learning tool in creating flashcards for an efficient and effective review session. It’s capable of increasing your retention skills by creating cards with embed pictures, texts, and recorded speech.

As a student, I have maximised the tool in all my subjects, especially in my majors. When reviewing, I always organise my notes and convert them into flashcards, especially when separating business subjects such as Accounting and Economics from the technology-focused courses. In my creative writing classes, I basically use my flashcards to enrich my vocabulary, improve grammar, and check spelling.

With StudyBlue App, you can enjoy:

  • Tailored flashcards
  • Measuring your progress
  • Integrating pictures
  • Audio recordings

On top of all, StudyBlue gives you the liberty of mastering a subject based on your own terms. Whilst the monthly subscription fee of £6.12 is expensive for a virtual card solution, the free version already does the job, especially in developing your skills in information retention.

Back in my time, it was limited as web-based tool. The developers have released a mobile counterpart for smartphone or tablet for the students of today to enjoy. If you‘ve used Evernote in note taking, you can easily import them to StudyBlue to create your review material. But if you’re a new iPhone user, can easily use the handset’s iCloud feature to sync your notes and convert them into learning cards. O2’s page for the iPhone 5c stated that this Apple service allows users to share and access files across all your iDevices. This makes file transferring more efficient nowadays.

Get it here for iOS, Android, and Web.

The YouTube video below is a good starting point for using the tool:

(courtesy of Learn German with Herr Antrim)

About the Author
Jennifer Birch – a former Business Information Systems and Creative and Professional Writing at UEL. Reach her on Techie Doodlers and Twitter.