IBM Debuts Talking Web Browser
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Aiming to provide Web access to the visually impaired, IBM recently unveiled Home Page Reader for Windows, a talking Web browser.
The new tool is made to read aloud information found on a Web site and makes it easy to navigate the Internet.
"We began this project with one clear objective--to minimize the information gap between the sighted and the blind," said Chieko Asakawa, a blind researcher at IBM's Tokyo Research Laboratory and a key player in the software development. "Now, with this new software release, more people than ever will benefit from the wealth of information available on the Internet. Using IBM's exclusive fast-forward skim reading feature, the blind can obtain information from the Web as quickly as the sighted."
Home Page Reader was developed originally in Japanese, but has been adapted to read English. It uses IBM's ViaVoice OutLoud U.S. English text-to-speech technology, working in conjunction with Netscape Navigator, to speak the information clearly.
Currently available in Japan, Home Page Reader for Windows 95, 98 and NT is slated to become available in the United States in January 1999, and will have a retail price of $149.