Reuters | New KNFB smartphone app gives sight to the blind

September 22, 2014

National Federation of the Blind | Snap pictures, listen to printed text read aloud, store and share documents and more using the KNFB Reader iPhone app. The KNFB Reader app for iPhone is available in the Apple iTunes app store.

related reading:
KNFB Reader | main
Apple iTunes | KNFB Reader

AppleVis | “KNFB Reader Mobile podcast”

National Federation of the Blind | “NFB applauds release of KNFB Reader iPhone app”
National Federation of the Blind | “KNFB Reader official unveiling podcast”

(credit: KNFB Reading Technology)

related reading:

Reuters | “New smartphone app gives sight to the blind”

excerpt | Jonathan Mosen, who has been blind since birth, spent his evening snapping photos of packages in the mail, his son’s school report and labels on bottles in the fridge. In seconds, he was listening to audio of the printed words the camera captured, courtesy of a new app on his Apple iPhone. “I couldn’t believe how accurate it was,” said Mosen, an assistive technology consultant from New Zealand.


related reading from the National Federation of the Blind:

National Federation of the Blind | “NFB applauds release of KNFB Reader iPhone app”

(credit: KNFB Reading Technology)

The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s leading advocate for access to print by the blind, has applauded the release of KNFB Reader, a new app for the iPhone and other Apple iOS devices, which uses the phone’s camera and state of the art optical character recognition (OCR) technology to give the blind instant access to the contents of print materials.

Members of the National Federation of the Blind have worked with KNFB Reading Technology, which developed the app along with Sensotec, KNFB Reader is now available in the Apple iTunes app store.

Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind has been involved for forty years in the development of technology that helps blind people to acquire access to the various print materials that we all encounter from day to day.

Ever since our first collaboration with Ray Kurzweil to develop the Kurzweil Reading Machine, which was the size of a household appliance, we have been interested in the development of better and more portable reading technology.

Print on office documents, flyers, letters, menus, labels, and throughout our environment is still a part of everyday life, even with the increased electronic transmission of documents. Now revolutionary technology that resides on the phones that many of us carry each day provides instant access to the printed word.

We can hear our mail or the menu at our favorite restaurant spoken with the iPhone’s built-in text-to-speech technology, or read it in braille with a refreshable braille display. This app will fundamentally change the everyday lives of many blind people, helping us to get the information we need and live the lives we want.”

related reading from Apple iTunes:

KNFB Reader | App description

The highly anticipated KNFB Reader converts printed text into high quality speech to provide accurate, fast, and efficient access to both single and multiple page documents with the tap of a button on the iPhone. Picture accuracy is facilitated by a Field of View Report, Automatic Page Detection, and Tilt Control. Our app allows users to capture pictures of virtually any type of printed text, including mail, receipts, class handouts, memos and many other documents that you may encounter.

Proprietary document analysis technology determines the words and reads them aloud to the user with high quality text-to-speech and braille access. Individuals with print disabilities will benefit from the synchronized speech and text highlighting capabilities. KNFB Reader will revolutionize access to print materials for the mobile professional and busy student by providing advanced state of the art mobile reading technology in a single hand-held device.


• Fast, accurate, and efficient mobile text recognition that delivers near instantaneous results.
• Reading modes for books, articles and labels, bills and memos.
• Synchronized text highlighting with high quality speech and braille output.
• Field of view report to assist with aligning the camera relative to the document.
• Tilt guidance feature to assist with capturing the perfect picture of a document.
• Automatic text detection to enable hands-free operation.
• Ability to import, OCR, and read image-based pdf and jpg files
• Export txt and html formatted text files to cloud storage services including Dropbox and Google Drive.
• Batch scan mode to process and read multiple pages.
• Recognize and read text in multiple languages; please visit our website for details.
• Additional features including language translation, text editing, and more coming soon.

Supported devices:

• iPhone 5s
• iPhone 5c
• iPhone 5