Audio Playback Systems

Relying on hearing when the other remaining abilities to read are impaired.
Federico Bartolomei

Reading can be a pleasant way to spend time. But it is also a necessity to live in a society characterized by large flows of communication and the use of new technologies. Whether it is a pastime, or a need related to study, work or activities of daily living, reading ability is one of the main parameters that are assessed to better understand the quality of life of people with visual impairments who come to the Cavazza Institute’s Technology Help Centre. 

Symbolic image for audio reading systems

A good book can positively impact our thinking, our mood, our creativity, and our emotions. In addition, many studies have shown that reading increases our cognitive abilities, stimulates our thoughts and our imagination. For this reason, the requests of those who would like to find comfort in reading, a panacea for mood, anxiety, and stress, should not be underestimated. If residual vision permits, magnifying optical or electronic aids can be used to increase the size of text and make it more readable.


If reading is impossible, even with magnifying systems, or if it is too tiring, the sense of hearing or touch can be used, if the person is able to learn to use the braille code. Reading through listening can be achieved with a variety of tools. There are applications that, thanks to TTS (text-to-speech) software, allow you to transform a text in digital format into audio files, and these are already found as an accessibility option on various tablets and smartphones.


However, specific software is available that can also be installed on personal computers to read documents or other content on the Internet and social networks. If you need to read a printed document in paper format, you can also use automatic OCR (optical character recognition) reading systems that allow you to capture the image through a camera and then read it with the help of voice synthesis. These systems can manage and process pages containing images and several columns of text and do not require any particular skill or manual ability for the management of commands. 

Symbolic image for audio reading systems

Another option is audiobooks, which are audio recordings in MP3 format made by a professional reader or volunteer that can be listened to on computers, tablets, smartphones, and MP3 players. Finally, smart speakers should also be mentioned for the increasing interest they are generating. Real “smart speakers,” with functionality that is carried out with the voice synthesis of a virtual assistant such as Alexa; these systems through artificial intelligence can interpret simple voice commands given with natural language, providing answers to different kinds of questions in a simple and immediate way, thanks to access to digital and computer services specifically related to the world of the Internet.


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A place to learn about and experiment with technical aids towards personal autonomy.



To learn the use of computer tools necessary for everyday life, a project dedicated to people over 65.


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Evaluation of aids and counselling for people living with vision loss.


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