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Techonomy Events Video

Gary Rieschel on Tech Accessibility

Gary Rieschel of Qiming Venture Partners, speaks at Techonomy 2016.   More

Learning

Text-to-Speech Reads to the Blind, But What More Can Tech Do?

Back in the 1970s, before a personal computer was on every desk or lap and a smartphone in every pocket, blind people read printed material—books, newspapers, bills—with reading machines. Harvey Lauer at the Blind Rehabilitation Center in Hines, Ill., was a pioneer in developing reading machines for the blind, and my father, Richard Bennett, a researcher at the Veterans Administration in Palo Alto, was one of his colleagues. “Blindness,” Lauer once said, “is something more than a nuisance, but a lot less than a major catastrophe.” The phrase aptly sums up the challenge of reading for blind people: It takes effort, but it’s not an insurmountable problem.   More