What is OCR?
Optical character recognition, or OCR, is the mechanical or electronic conversion of scanned images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text into accessible digital text that can be magnified, searched, copied, pasted and sent to braille or speech-to-text. This process is not yet available for mathematical characters or code.
OCR processes are essential for text-to-speech and clear reading of magnified text. There are a range of different hardwares and softwares that can be used to convert print.
$80 for normal versions, $599 for professional
EOC tutorial module available here! (mod completed, need a link here)
Omnipage is a very popular, powerful and relatively easy to use OCR package. It can convert PDF files or scanned images and convert them into accessible txt, word or pdf documents ready to be put onto an ipad or read with computer software.
Onenote features an easy to use menu item that allows you to capture text directly from any picture on the screen, it’s not very powerful and Onenote should not be purchased for this feature, however if you have this software installed already for other purposes it’s handy.
Most blind users will already have JAWS 13 for acces to their microsoft windows machines, if so there is an easy to use OCR function that will capture text from any thing on the screen.
to use this feature see this link under Convenient OCR.
SimpleOCR is a great program for a student to have on their laptops, it’s quite simple and powerful, it features both a print and handwriting accessibility mode.
Ipad/Iphone OCR apps
with OCR apps the iPad/iPhone could potentially be very powerful handheld OCR tools. At this stage I have not been able to test these but a list of available ipad/iphone apps is available here.