Scanning pens with text to speech and dictionary support have been around for quite sometime. The first pens I used were the Quicktionary Pens probably about 10 years ago as a handheld reading tool. Although they scanned and read text aloud, they worked best for individuals with good fine motor control and patience for scanning hard copy text, listening to the line of print scanned as well as scanning single words and definitions for individuals with reading challenges. Starting the scan at the right place, scanning a line of text and stopping the scan to capture a whole line took practice, patience and the right size print. Having trialed them with a number of clients, a few really liked them, but they required persistence with use.
The Wizcom pen, more recently purchased, I found to be an improved scanning pen, however it continued to require accuracy with placement of the scanning head and alignment of the pen with line scanned for accurate recognition. Limitations with size of text and accuracy of recognition was improved but still required patience with use.
The C-Pen Reader Pen is a new scanning pen developed by Scanning Pens LTD now available in the US. A recent purchase of the pen found it easy to use, fast and accurate. Trial on a variety of font sizes from dense 10 point textbook print to newspaper ads to worksheet print at 12-15 point found it accurate with all print trial. A light turns on when scanning assisting with guiding the user with text being scanned. Placement for starting and stopping a scan captured all of the print without missed words or letters. Only when I tried to scan very fast with less control did inaccuracies result. I was also able to scan line after line quite quickly, resulting in it reading one line at a time in succession. Controls on the pen also allows the user to move the cursor to prior lines of text to review and use text to speech to read additional lines of scanned text.
Below is a short video of use of the C-Pen Reader showing its ease of use and features:
Information from the C-Pen Reader website provides device specifications:
- OLED 256*64
Memory – 4GB (OS 1G, User 3G)
Scan Font Size Range 6.5 – 22 pt
Electronic Dictionaries – Collin English 30th Anniversary Dictionary 10th Edition (156,120 words) & Oxford Spanish>English>Spanish Dictionary
Certifications CE RoHS FCC
Size Dimensions: 135*33*19mm Weight: 50g
- USB – USB 2.0 High speed / Micro USB
Extracted Content – Extracted text saved as a .txt file
File System – FAT\FAT32\NTFS
Menu Languages – English
The C-Pen Reader Pen comes with a micro USB charging cord, earbuds and a case. It is small, making it easily portable for use in a variety of environments. Although targeted for individuals with sight, it can be used on text that has been highlighted (worked on yellow, pink and orange highlighted text accurately using highlighting pens) by individuals with low vision.
My initial trials found this pen to be highly accurate scanning and reading medical (OT textbook) and news correctly with text to speech output. Fast and easy to use, I would again consider recommending use of this new model C-Pen Reading pen for spot reading for individuals with decoding challenges.
The pen is available at Amazon.com for $262.50 + 10.00 shipping. Although a bit pricey, its accuracy and ease of use makes it a portable reading assistive tool for individuals with learning disabilities.
The C-Pen also comes in a C-Pen Exam Reader pen, with the same scanning and text to speech tools but without the dictionary and file saving option also for $262.50.
Have you used the C-Pen Reading pen? What has your experience been with its use?
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