July 9, 2009 Palo Alto, CA – Individuals with print disabilities can now choose new, low-cost mobile technologies to read more than 50,000 digital books and periodicals thanks to a partnership between Bookshare, the world’s largest online library of accessible books for people with print disabilities, and Code Factory, Barcelona Spain; a leading global provider of screen readers, screen magnifiers, and Braille interfaces for a wide range of mainstream mobile devices.
The Mobile Speak screen readers for mobile phones developed by Code Factory use synthesized speech to read aloud information displayed on the mobile phone screens including ebooks stored on their phones. Using this technology, Bookshare members who are blind or have visual impairments will have new alternatives and features like navigation, bookmarking and text search, to access digital books for work, study or reading pleasure.
“For years, individuals with print disabilities have needed the ability to read books on a readily-available, low-cost, portable device such as the mobile phone,” said Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech, the nonprofit organization which operates Bookshare. “We envision students with visual impairments or learning disabilities on the bus reading textbooks and other assignments with their phones. In rural areas or homes without computers, individuals can download digital books at school or a community center with computer access and read the content anywhere using their mobile phone. Mobile phone technologies will bring Bookshare books to people and students who previously lacked a portable technology solution to read digital books, magazines and newspapers on the go.”
To read Bookshare books, users of Mobile Speak can download books and periodicals from the Bookshare website (http://www.bookshare.org) to their PC and transfer them to their mobile phones or PDAs. Code Factory provides accessible solutions for Symbian phones as well as Windows Mobile Smartphones and Pocket PCs.
If users have a Symbian phone (e.g. Nokia phone) they can install the Mobile DAISY Player application in addition to the Mobile Speak screen reader application. Mobile DAISY Player is a book reader which will allow users with sight and visual impairments to read Bookshare files in DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) format. Mobile DAISY Player is the first and only mobile phone DAISY application to support both DAISY 2.02 and DAISY 3.0 (NISO) book formats. Users can adjust the speed of reading without changing the pitch, set bookmarks to favorite places in the contents screen, navigate by character, word, sentence or paragraph, and configure font sizes and screen colors.
Individuals with a Windows Mobile device can also read Bookshare books in BRF (Braille Ready Format) through the built-in Braille reader implemented in Mobile Speak Smartphone and Mobile Speak Pocket. The Braille reader application will read Bookshare BRF files in English through users’ active speech synthesizer whether or not a Braille display is connected. Users having a refreshable Braille display can read Bookshare books in Braille which is particularly useful for deaf-blind users.
Bookshare member Larry L. Lewis, Jr., President and Founder of Flying Blind, LLC, uses the Mobile Speak application to read Bookshare books on the go. “My Mobile Speak-equipped Smartphone is convenient and allows me to accomplish more tasks while carrying fewer devices,” said Lewis. “Code Factory’s BRF reader allows me the flexibility to read Bookshare books with a wireless Braille display or to simply listen to the text while it is read by Mobile Speak.”
“Bookshare and Code Factory share a vision to provide individuals with disabilities around the globe with greater access to a vast collection of digital books and information,” said Eduard Sanchez, CEO of Code Factory. “We value this introduction from Bookshare, a social enterprise, to identify the latest mobile technologies as a solution that will raise the level of access for these individuals.”