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Reading

Science

Researchers transmit braille directly to the retina of blind test subject

Second Sight’s Argus II Retinal Prosthesis is definitely an interesting piece of technology, allowing a blind user to “see” objects, colors and movement in their environment. Ordinarily, this is done with the help of a video-camera-equipped pair of glasses worn by the user. In a recent experiment, however, researchers bypassed the camera, transmitting visual braille patterns directly to a blind test subject’s retina.Read More

Computers

New font designed to help dyslexic people read

Developer Abelardo Gonzalez has created an open-source font designed to help people with dyslexia read more easily. Dubbed OpenDyslexic, the font is currently available as a free download, in the form of a Safari and Chrome extension, a bookmarklet, and a free iOS web-browsing app. OpenDyslexic has also been incorporated into several third-party apps, including popular read-it-later service Instapaper. Read More

Electronics

New e-book system promises a more paper-like reading experience

There may indeed come a day when printed books and magazines have been gone for so long, that nobody cares how little reading a digital document resembles reading one printed on paper. That day is not yet here, however – most of us still like our e-reading experience to be as close as possible to that of reading a book. To that end, this week a team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced the development of new e-reading system, that brings several book-like capabilities to tablets and smartphones.Read More

Mobile Technology

Booktrack adds sound effects and music soundtracks to eBooks

There’s no doubt that a soundtrack can significantly enhance the immersiveness and emotional impact of films and TV programs. But can some audio accompaniment do the same thing for books? New York City-based startup Booktrack thinks so and has released an iOS app – with an Android app also on the way - that adds soundtracks to eBooks. As the user reads they can listen to ambient background noise relevant to the book’s current setting, specific sound effects synchronized to the text as it is read, and music. But does a soundtrack “boost the reader’s imagination and engagement” as the company states, or does it just create another distraction to be overcome when delving into a book on the bus on the way home? I decided to download the app and find out.Read More

Computers

LiquidText software designed for active reading

The more ways in which you can engage yourself with what you're reading, the more likely you are to understand and remember it. It's a practice known as active reading, and it can involve taking notes, highlighting passages, setting aside snippets of important information, or even reading text aloud. While some programs already exist that facilitate the active reading of digital documents, a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed what they believe is a better approach. It's called LiquidText, and it was developed around touchscreen technology.Read More

Mobile Technology

Copia – social media meets the eReader

If we need evidence of the central role the digital world is taking in our modern lives, we need look no further than social networking. In a very short time, updating Facebook profiles and Tweet streams have become a pivotal part of everyday life for many millions of people. Even our literary preferences are beginning to lean more towards the digital, with Amazon recently announcing that the sale of digitized books had overtaken the sale of printed versions. The Copia platform brings both of these activities together in one place, offering members a new way discover, share and purchase books, newspapers and magazines.Read More

Good Thinking

Books used to create 'fossil record' of human culture

You may have Facebook friends who have done the “Here are the top words from my Facebook status messages!” thing, where it lists the words they’ve most commonly used in telling the world about their lives. Interesting as that may or may not be, imagine something similar being done with four percent of all books ever published. That’s what a team of researchers from Harvard University, Google, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and the American Heritage Dictionary have done. The resulting dataset is made up of the full text of about 5.2 million books, 72 percent of that text being in English, with French, German, Chinese, Russian, and Hebrew making up the rest. Analyzing that dataset, a practice that the researchers call “culturomics” (a play on genomics), has revealed some fascinating things about the history of our species.Read More

Children

Read your kids a bedtime story without being there

The In Your Own Voice Storyteller lets children enjoy a bedtime story with a familiar family voice – even if there's no familiar family member around. A parent, older sibling or grandparent records passages of a book onto a child friendly pen programmed with specifically coded stickers that can be attached to the relevant pages of a story book. All a child needs to do is place the pen over the sticker on the book’s page and the recording will play. Read More

Mobile Technology

Kogan's $189 eBook reader

Kogan Technologies has launched a 6-inch eBook reader into the Australian market at a price of just AUD$189 (less than US$170). Around one third of an inch thick and weighing 228.8 g, the eBook Reader boasts good readability in bright sunlight via an 800 x 600 E Ink screen along with simple navigation system and long battery life. Read More

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