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.”
Product Information Links:
Bookshare Membership – Code Factory Promotion Code
Bookshare offers memberships to individuals in the U.S. and around the world for a nominal fee. The library has tens of thousands of books including fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, educational reading, newspapers and magazines, plus two free software applications that read digital content. To learn more visit http://www.bookshare.org/signUpType.
Applicants, other than U.S. students who qualify for free memberships, will receive a $25 waiver on a set up fee. To receive this waiver, you must: 1) enter promo code: Codefactory in your registration form and 2) send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request the waiver. http://www.bookshare.org/signUpType?promoCode=Codefactory)
Mobile Speak Pricing and Distribution Information
Code Factory’s accessible solutions are available in the U.S. through several distributors, including AT&T. The price for Mobile Speak starts at $89 for AT&T customers. For more information about the AT&T and Code Factory partnership visit http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/disability-resources/mobile-speak-magnifier.jsp.
To find the closest distributor visit http://codefactory.es/en/purchase.asp?id=54
To download Mobile Speak screen readers, visit http://www.codefactory.es/en/downloads.asp?id=44.
To learn how to get a trial, visit http://www.codefactory.es/en/purchase.asp?id=285.
Mobile DAISY Player Information
To download Mobile DAISY Player for a free trial for 30 days, visit http://codefactory.es/en/downloads.asp?id=43#version_2_57
To buy Mobile DAISY Player, contact the following distributors or look for other Code Factory distributors at http://codefactory.es/en/purchase.asp?id=54:
– Adaptive Technology Resources at http://www.adaptivetr.com or call 262.375.2020
– Handy Tech North America at http://www.handytech.us or call 651.636.5184
– Vision Cue at http://visioncue.com/contact.php or call 888.318.2582
Bookshare, www.bookshare.org, is the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Through its technology initiatives and partnerships, Bookshare seeks to raise the floor on accessibility issues so that individuals with print disabilities have the same ease of access to print materials as people without disabilities. In 2007, Bookshare received a $32 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualified print disability. The Bookshare library now has more than 56,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, www.benetech.org, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit that creates sustainable technology to solve pressing social needs.
About Code Factory
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Terrassa/Barcelona, Spain, Code Factory is the global leader committed to the development of products designed to eliminate barriers to the accessibility of mobile technology for the blind and visually impaired. Today, Code Factory is the leading provider of screen readers, screen magnifiers, and Braille interfaces for the widest range of mainstream mobile devices including Symbian-based and Windows Mobile-powered Smartphones, as well as Pocket PC phones and PDAs. Among Code Factory’s customers are well known organizations for the blind such as ONCE, and carriers such as AT&T, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, TIM and Vodafone. Code Factory has also built strong partnerships with mainstream companies like Nokia, Microsoft, and HP as well as leading AT companies like Baum, HumanWare, Optelec and Sendero.