Screen Readers and Speech Technology

Screen readers and Speech synthesis are one of the most powerful and cost-effective adaptive technologies currently available. If you cannot benefit from a screen magnification software or closed circuit televisions, screen reader software can help you use a personal computer. What is a screen reader, and what do I need to make it work? If you have a Pentium class computer equipped with a sound card and speakers, you all ready possess the hardware to support a screen reader software program. The screen reader, in conjunction with the sound card, turns your computer into a talking PC. Using a screen reader, you can hear all your keystrokes as they are entered, as well as read back any information displayed on the computer monitor. You can use a screen reader to help with sending and receiving electronic mail, browsing web sites on the internet, for database and spreadsheet management, and for accessing computers and information in general.

Scanner

A scanner can help you gain or regain access to the printed word. This piece of equipment is used to electronically scan a book or magazine into a personal computer. That text is then converted to speech, magnified, or Braille output. In other words, a scanner is a reading machine, capable of accessing many different forms of printed information. The scanned text can be saved to the computer's hard-drive, and reread the information on demand. Scanners are powerful adaptive technologies to assist students, workers, and those living independently in the home.
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.