Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

AdvantEdge Reader for the Blind

The Assistive Technology Center in Sacramento has announced the release of a complete portable scan-and-read system for the blind and print challenged.

The system, named the "AdvantEdge Reader", combines several mainstream and adaptive technologies in order to achieve the goal of a pocket scan and read solution.

The AdvantEdge Reader is the essence of simplicity. The user merely inserts the material to be read into the scanner. The material is scanned, recognized, converted into readable format, and read automatically. There are no other steps.

ATC has, for several years, been adapting scanners for use by the blind. Most recently, ATC has adapted the Visioneer strobe scanner. This is a tiny, portable scanner. The problem has been finding a small enough device to host the conversion and speech programs.

This is where the SmallTalk computer comes in. SmallTalk is a hand held uPC enhanced with the screen reading software "Window Eyes", by GW Micro, an Indiana corporation of some stature in the blindness field.

Assistive Technology Center took the modified Strobe Scanner, figured out how to install it onto the SmallTalk, and then added the proper recognition program and hardware driver to create the AdvantEdge Reader.

The best part is that, in addition to being the first portable scan and read system, the AdvantEdge Reader is also a full Windows XP computer. The Reader has a docking cable that allows it to be used as a desktop computer replacement. The docking cable connects to an external monitor, printer, network, keyboard, firewire devices, and more. Additionally, the Reader features internal Bluetooth and Wireless LAN technology.

To order, or for more information, please contact the Assistive Technology Center via phone at 916-381-5011, or e-mail

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