Speech Technology Magazine

 

Kurzweil Educational Systems Introduces Kurzweil 1000 Version 7

BEDFORD, MA - Kurzweil Educational Systems Inc. announced Kurzweil 1000 Version 7, thelatest version of the reading software for people who are blind or severely visually impaired.
Posted Jul 1, 2002
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BEDFORD, MA - Kurzweil Educational Systems Inc., developer of reading technology solutions for individuals with learning or visual disabilities, announced Kurzweil 1000 Version 7, the latest version of the reading software for people who are blind or severely visually impaired. In response to user demands, Kurzweil Educational has added functionality in three areas: online access to books, educational tools that promote more active reading, and office productivity. The product also includes a comprehensive set of accessible text management tools for creating bookmarks, annotations, summaries and portable MP3 audio files. Designed to promote independent communication, Kurzweil 1000 can read text in English, German, Italian, French and Spanish. Kurzweil Educational also announced a special summer sale, extending the benefits of Kurzweil 1000 to all who need them. From July 1 until August 31, Kurzweil 1000 is available for $200 off the base price. Among the new product features in Kurzweil 1000 is automated, simplified search and retrieval of books from various online repositories. This includes a direct connection to Bookshare.org, the online community that allows people with visual disabilities to legally download over 10,000 copyrighted books in accessible formats. In addition to creating an automated link to Bookshare.org, Version 7 includes a free 30-day Bookshare.org membership. Kurzweil Educational is the first producer of reading technology to offer the capability for users to search, download and read Bookshare.org books from within the reading software, and the first to offer the free 30-day Bookshare.org trial with purchase. John Riehl, longtime Kurzweil 1000 user and beta tester, adds, "In Version 7, the ability to do "backward searches" in a document helps me focus on the most important content, the "ranked spelling" feature makes it far easier to spell check a document, and the "send to" feature simplifies sending a document to a reading device or to another person. I've tried the other adaptive scanning and reading products, and to me, Kurzweil 1000 is far superior to them all. What impresses me most is not just the technical excellence -- the product works as advertised and does a superb job -- it's the company's commitment to listening to customer feedback and suggestions. Kurzweil Educational continues to be a model of excellence that many other adaptive technology companies would do well to emulate. " New features that increase the educational value of using Kurzweil 1000 include the ability to assign hierarchical values to bookmarks, prioritize spelling corrections according to frequency of errors in a document, and assign distinctive reading voices to portions of text requiring emphasis. Version 7 also includes the new FineReader version 6.0 OCR Engine from ABBYY Software House as well as Via Voice text to speech from IBM to further enhance scanning and reading. Additional enhancements address the need for greater accessibility in day-to-day office communications. Version 7 includes FAX and photocopying applications as well as a unique Send-to-Email feature, which facilitates attaching and sending text through familiar email applications. "From the time Ray Kurzweil invented the original reading machine, our mission has been to provide the best reading solution possible," said Stephen Baum, Chief Technology Officer at Kurzweil Educational. "Everything we do is geared towards helping our community of users improve the quality of their lives and the convenience of accessing the wealth of information available today. For instance, the latest version of Kurzweil 1000 allows users to register electronically from within the software, and receive free product updates and informational broadcasts. Close communication with our active user group enables us to not only build a community but better serve the needs of our users -- by incorporating their feedback, comments and suggestions into the product development cycle, and continuously improving our products."
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