The last session last night at O’Reilly Publishing Tools of Change (TOC) conference in New York was A Conversation with Ray Kurzweil and Tim O’Reilly — an extremely interesting conversation between two very bright minds. “Ray Kurzweil invented the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Ray’s latest book, The Singularity is Near, was a New York Times best seller.”
Ray’s latest product is Blio — a free ereader. It has 1m free books + some paid for books in its catalogue. Blio is very interactive: audio, video, quizzes, annotations, various views, very impressive text-to-speech. For audiobooks, can sync audio with text (as word gets read it is highlighted — karaole style). Very cool! Blio books are actually online (web-based) so they can be updated by authors at any time.
I know that a major publisher in South Africa will be using the Blio to distribute its content (when the Blio becomes available).