Campaign launched to fund portable text-to-speech translator

August 02 19:25 2017
BookEars device to “bring joy of reading to visually impaired and SEN book lovers”

Brighton, UK – 2 Aug, 2017 – A Sussex retiree is launching a crowdfunding campaign next month to fund the manufacture of a new handheld product, designed to translate written text into audio.

Former care home manager Graham Burch, who has worked to support people with disabilities for many years, first had the idea while talking to a blind man he met on holiday.

“He had set up this massive machine on a table in the hotel library, and needed some help picking books from their selection and carrying them back and forth to it,” says Graham. “As we talked, I began to notice that there were parallels with the needs of reading impaired people we’d had in our care.”

Audiobook providers have begun to make many bestselling titles available to audiences who have difficulty reading text. However, it is estimated that only 0.15% of all the books published in print are easily available in audio form[1]. It can be a particular challenge to find audio for non-fiction texts, or older books that are currently out of print.

“The technology designed for this community is generally very cumbersome and unwieldy, which means that the reader has to come to the machine,” says Graham. “I wanted to build something that was portable and affordable, so care centres, schools and other communities can offer a personal device to the people they work with. It’s giving people the freedom to read whatever they want, whenever they want, and wherever they want.”

The BookEars proof of concept design is developed by GB Electronics, the award-winning product development team behind the popular baby sleep aid ‘Ewan the Dream Sheep’. The finished product is set to be manufactured in the UK.

During August, the campaign aims to raise £50,000 to fund the production of the first BookEars devices. All backers will become part of the BookEars Reading Club to receive discounts, audiobook samples and a range of other gifts for book-lovers. Early-bird donors of over £500 will get their own device, while major backers such as retailers, schools and care centres can receive a bundle of up to 10 at a significant discount.

“I noticed a problem that wasn’t getting much attention, and I believe that I can be the one to solve it,” says Graham. “I want to make every book accessible to anyone who might want to unlock the answers within, and bring together a unique community of people united by their love of reading and sharing knowledge.”

The campaign will go live on IndieGoGo at 12pm GMT on 1st August 2017: https://igg.me/at/bookears

To register interest in the campaign ahead of its launch, visit: www.bookears.co.uk

Note:

For more information, photography, or to arrange an interview with any of the parties mentioned in this press release, please contact the Sussex Innovation Press Office.

[1] There have been c.134 million books published in print: (http://mentalfloss.com/article/85305/how-many-books-have-ever-been-published), while the world’s largest audiobook provider lists “more than 200,000 titles”: (https://www.audible.co.uk/whatis)

Media Contact
Company Name: Sussex Innovation Press Office
Contact Person: Joseph Bradfield
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 01273 234 696
Country: United Kingdom
Website: https://igg.me/at/bookears

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