PenFriend audio labeller
PenFriend is a pen sized device which 'speaks' basic information about an object, such as a book, when a special label is scanned. The device is designed as an everyday voice labeller for labeling and identifying food items, books, film and music collections, medicine packaging, or household paperwork or garden seeds.
Libraries in the North East of England
Several libraries in the North East of England have been piloting the use of PenFriend, which they have been using to record bibliographic information, information on noticeboards about library events and joining instructions. Newcastle City Libraries has managed to record sufficient details of stock that they have been able to test the PenFriend with customers.
The PenFriend pilot is part of the North East Accessible Library & Information Services (NEALIS) project, a cross-sectoral initiative to improve access to library and information services for blind and partially sighted people.
The Council's Lead Member Leisure and Community Safety, Councillor Tracey Dixon, said:
“PenFriend was originally developed by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) for labelling items such as tins in cupboards or CD collections but the technology has all sorts of other uses. I'm sure its introduction in the library will be welcomed by blind and partially-sighted visitors as it will help them to retain their independence when choosing a talking book."
PenFriend is also being used in Northampton, Marion Marriott from the Friends of Weston Favell Library said:
“I currently have a group of volunteers, from a local amateur dramatic society, the Masque Theatre, who are recording the labels in weekly sessions. This is being done at my house as the library is in a leased retail unit in a shopping centre and is far too noisy.
Once we have built up a good collection of titles we intend to form a small user group to try out the system and help us iron out any glitches. We will then have a publicity campaign to make local people aware that users will be able to borrow a PenFriend from the desk and make their own choice of audio book without having to wait for a member of staff to be free to help them. Recording labels will be an ongoing process as new books are added to the stock.”
- over 70 hours of recording time available on the 1GB internal memory
- ability to download MP3 files including books and music
- supplied with a built-in speaker, two AAA batteries, USB cable and lanyard
- the RNIB PenFriend is also available in Polish, Greek, French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Italian.
The RNIB PenFriend audio labeller has won the 2010 Winston Gordon Award from our Canadian counterpart, CNIB. The Winston Gordon Award, established by CNIB in 1988, is presented annually to an individual or group who has made significant technological advances benefiting people with vision loss. This award recognises the work that RNIB does, including developing low cost solutions for labelling.