The much-anticipated ZoomReader app from Ai Squared is now available from the iTunes App Store.
Priced at $19.99, ZoomReader lets you magnify and read printed text by first taking a picture of an object like a book or menu, then converting the image into text using Optical Character Recognition technology. ZoomReader will then read the text back to you.
ZoomReader also offers a magnification tool with the ability to change background and text colors.
Early reactions from those who have downloaded this app have been lukewarm at best. Many have been disappointed that an app produced by one of the leading providers of assistive technology for the blind and vision-impaired contains such basic errors as unlabelled buttons. Some have also been disappointed by the actual performance of the app as a text scanner, reporting that it is no better than some apps already available.
AI Squared have been quick to respond to criticism, and have emphasized that the app is not intended for the blind, and that some sight is necessary to get the best results.
Blind Bargains have published their initial observations on using ZoomReader, which are worth reading if you are thinking about buying this app. You would also be well-advised to spend some time reading the discussions about ZoomReader on the VIPhone and aiphone mailing lists.