Wednesday, February 12, 2014


In the 1990s when we introduced the eBook technology in the Philippines, we touted it not only as a regular reader of electronic books or documents but also as a reader with a voice.  This is because the Franklin Reader and the Mobipocket Reader, which were embedded in our eBookMan device, had a text to speech app that went with it.  The same readers are now incorporated in the Kindle – successor of the eBookMan.

We used to cite a study showing that when you read the text of a book for the first time, the comprehension was about 20%.  When you listen to the reading of a book, the comprehension was 30%. And when you read and listen at the same time, the comprehension was 50%.

This was quickly accepted by students and professionals such as lawyers, doctors, professors who usually did a lot of reading and many others including actors.

At the International CES 2014, I learned about a similar but more sophisticated technology, more advanced with more uses and possessing greater features.  Named CAPTI Narrator, it was launched in Las Vegas by Charmtech Labs, LLC which is headed by its President and CEO Dr. Yevgen Borodin.

I arranged a meeting with and a demonstration by Dr. Borodin at the Venetian Hotel.  A very learned man who impressed me as a man with a social mission, Dr. Borodin showed me the different features of CAPTI.

First, he claims that CAPTI is liberating.  You can convert the texts of any webpage with an article, blogpost, or a book to speech.  His demo proved it.

Second, he says CAPTI is focused.  You can listen only to the main content in webpages, skipping ads, menus, and other clutter.  His demo showed it.

Third, he argues that CAPTI is intelligent.  The app will reassemble the articles that are spread across multiple pages.  Amazingly, he showed me how it was done.

Fourth, it is mobile.  The app allows you to listen on the plane, on the road, in the gym, on a walk, even when you are offline.  To me, this was obvious.

Fifth, he considers it personalized.  This is because you can choose from many high quality English voices and set your preferred speech rate.

Sixth, the app is organized.  You can use the playlist to organize your content, save it for later or listen to it right away.

Seventh, CAPTI is accessible. It works seamlessly with VoiceOver screen reader.

Lastly, the app is a good tool for Social Media.  You can share content with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, via Email or SMS.

Indeed, Dr. Borodin demonstrated to me an amazing and “magical” technology that could be very useful to most if not all people in all walks of life.  All that is needed was for me to download it and test it myself.  My exposure to the eBookMan/Kindle eBook reader technology would help guide my assessment.

I downloaded CAPTI from the Apple Store for FREE.  When I asked Dr. Borodin how he would make money he frankly admitted to me that his company gets a share from the sales of the “voices” that are sold.

There is a default voice that goes with the app so it is really not necessary to buy a “voice”.  But since I want a natural voice with an American English accent, I bought both female and male voices.

Clicking on CAPTI on my iPhone, I accessed my favorite webpages with articles (mostly news, views, and comments) and clicked the play symbol.  It read to me the articles with the natural voice of my choice. Sometimes, I also read the texts but mostly, I just listened.  I also noticed that it only reads the main content in the webpages.  Gladly, the ads, menus and other clutter were skipped.

I also created a playlist that organized contents that I saved for listening later or even right away.  In my trip to New York where I attended the LegalTech 2014 conference, CAPTI allowed to me to access and listen to the contents that I earlier saved in my playlist.

The browser in the app allowed me to access social media like Facebook, Twitter, Email, SMS, and Google +.  Again, I had the option to listen, read, or both. I did all for testing.  It is amazing!

CAPTI is aptly described as an “Application Enabling Consumers to Listen to Anything They want to Read” and “Free the World from the Clutches of the Screen.”  I absolutely agree.

In this age of the Cloud, Dropbox, Clipboard, and the Google Drive, CAPTI could retrieve any content that is stored and read it to you as you lie in bed, in the hammock, or at the beach.

I see several practical uses of CAPTI.  It was conveniently useful when I used it at the gym.  It could make it easier for people to multitask while listening to content on a walk, while cooking, eating, watching kids, during the commute, on the plane, or while relaxing.

CAPTI is also useful for students to keep up with their reading materials while exercising or commuting.  The strain on one’s eyes is reduced.

As we touted in the 1990s, comprehension skills are improved – even for English language learners.  Even people with cognitive disabilities would be able to look at the screen and listen repetitively and gain greater comprehension.  This is true for people with low vision as well.  The benefits for blind people are obvious.

I highly recommend the use of CAPTI.  The innovations and the social benefits of CAPTI have been recognized by federal research agencies like the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research at the Department of Education (NIDRR) and the National Eye Institute at the National Institute of Health.

Download it!  It is FREE    

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