HP, Mouscan Team Up for Mobile Text-to-Speech Solution

Korean start-up company Mouscan, a company with scanning and mouse expertise, today announced a licensing agreement with HP that will offer people a way to listen to printed text.

Mouscan is using HP handheld scanning technology and its own text-to-speech software to develop Voiscan, a product that will allow people to scan hard copy text in any language using a handheld device and then receive a spoken translation of the scanned text. The technology could potentially be used as a reading aid for the blind and visually impaired, a translation tool for tourists traveling in foreign countries, and an educational aid for those learning to speak another language.

Under the agreement, HP will license its intellectual property to Mouscan in return for royalty payments. Mouscan will develop, manufacture and sell the product, which the company expects to be commercially available worldwide by the end of 2008.

The Voiscan product incorporates handheld scanning technology invented by HP Labs. The scanning technology does not require the scanned image to be laid flat; this allows the user to scan images on a wall or other vertical surfaces. It also allows users to scan a large image with multiple passes of the device, which then digitally reassembles the full image from segments captured during each pass.

"Breakthroughs in mobile and wireless technologies are revolutionizing the way people use technology in their everyday lives,"  Yang Yu, CEO of Mouscan, said in a statement. "This pioneering handheld scanning technology developed by HP allows us to bring to market a unique device that facilitates communication from text to audio anywhere, anytime, and in any language."

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