Since Aug 15, 2008 / Last update: Aug 15, 2008
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The Reading Assistant is a simple program for helping the visually-impaired people to read text in the surrounding scenes. The program captures images using a high resolution USB2.0 camera, recognizes the text characters in the images using an OCR (Optical Character Reader) engine, and produces text output. The current version is an alpha version, and is not equipped with a voice synthesizer. The user needs to find and use a screen reader.
Currently, only the online edition of the Reading Assistant is available. This edition uses WeOCR, which is a web-enabled OCR system, as the OCR engine instead of a stand-alone OCR. The computer must be connected to the Internet when the Reading Assistant is used. The users should not try to read confidential documents since the images will be sent to an OCR engine on the Internet.
Please note that the WeOCR system is also highly experimental. The character recognition performance is limited.
The program runs on MS-Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Library files for Visual C++ 2008 are required to run this program. Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package (x86) is available at the Microsoft website.
A high-speed, high-resolution, USB2.0 webcam is required. The camera must support 800x600 image resolution. A lot of webcams on the market today are too slow, blurry, and of low resolution. One of the recommended webcams for Reading Assistant is ``Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks,'' which features a high-speed 2-megapixel sensor and an autofocus system.
The Reading Assitant uses cURL and OpenCV library. All the required executables and libraries are included in the distribution package, and there is no need to install separately.
The license is a derivative of the MIT-X license.
Copyright (C) 2008 Hideaki Goto All Rights Reserved. Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software. THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR(S) OR COPYRIGHT HOLDER(S) BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE. Except as contained in this notice, the name(s) of the copyright holder(s) shall not be used in advertising or otherwise to promote the sale, use or other dealings in this Software without prior written authorization of the copyright holder(s).
The development of a high performance OCR engine for scene text recognition is underway. It will be incorporated into the WeOCR system so the users of the Reading Assistant will benefit from it.
Development of the stand-alone version of Reading Assistant is included in our future work. It could be canceled depending on the shortages of human and financial resources as well as technical difficulties.
Source codes will be open to research partners for a while, and then to the public in the future.
We appreciate your constructive comments.
feature requests, questions, bug reports, or other comments.
Note that no reply will be sent, basically. Answers to some common questions may appear on the website.
keywords: Optical Character Recognition, WeOCR, online OCR, reading assistant, visually-impaired, for the blind