Reading hardcopy print

Up until the early 1980’s, the only way to read print with sight loss was to have it read or to produce it in large print or Braille.

Compared to the number of standard print books, the amount produced in hard copy Braille or large print is small.

In the early 1980’s, the first reading machine was developed. It was the size of a washing machine and cost around £30.000. As technology developed, so reading machines became cheaper and smaller.

With the advent of smartphones and tablets with excellent camera technology, it has become possible to have a reading machine on a small pocket device. Apps are now free that will read print aloud or enlarge it on your smart device.

You can now take scan print and read almost anything anywhere. Until the late 2010s, scanning technology could only interpret printed material but some mobile apps can now have a go at reading handwriting.