The History of OneStep Reader

KNFB Reader transitioned to Sensotec & renamed to OneStep ReaderA close up of the KNFB Reader app in action on an iPad. The screen shows how the app highlights the text as it reads it.

Formerly known as the KNFB Reader, the OneStep Reader uses technology known as optical character recognition (OCR) that was developed in the early 2000s through the work of the National Federation of the Blind and Raymond Kurzweil, a pioneering inventor. With guidance of what blind people truly need based on lived experiences, the technology allowed for the ground-breaking software that evolved to a premier experience for accessing printed text on iOS, Windows, and Android devices. After years of collaboration among NFB, Dr. Kurzweil, and Sensotec, the continued development of the product KNFB Reader (from now onwards branded as OneStep Reader) was transitioned to Sensotec beginning 2022.

Handing over continued development and support

The National Federation of the Blind, the transformative membership and advocacy organization of blind Americans, handed over the continued development of and support for the KNFB Reader products to its longtime app development partner, Sensotec, which has worked together with the NFB since 2016.The NFB is confident in Sensotec’s ability to provide continued support and upgrades that will benefit existing and future users.

NFB: Proud of the work started in early 1970s

The National Federation of the Blind is extremely proud of the work that started in the early 1970s with Dr. Ray Kurzweil and others. That work created what we know today as optical character recognition (OCR) technology and made it available to and affordable for, blind people and the general public. It also created the software needed to help blind people take accurate pictures of text so that the OCR technology could work its magic. This work has spawned other apps and products, like seeing AI and Voice Dream Scanner that are cheap and easy to use. At the same time, KNFB Reader or better yet OneStep Reader products continue to provide a premier experience for accessing printed text on iOS, Windows, and Android devices. Because of the work by the NFB, blind people everywhere now have instant access to printed text on their computers, smartphones, and other devices.

A strong commitment towards the future

Sensotec changed the name of the apps to OneStep Reader & OneStep Reader Multi and provides technical support to all current and future users, as well as offering any upgrades. Current KNFB reader users will notice no immediate change, beyond the name change and those who purchased the products before now will still be able to use them without further action or additional payment. Except with respect to the NFB-NEWSLINE integration the National federation of the blind will no longer provide technical support. The NFB access technology team will continue to receive reports about upgrades and bug fixes in order to answer general questions. The KNFB Reader basic function integrated into NFB-NEWSLINE® mobile will also continue to work as normal, although its name/branding may change. To learn more about the transformative membership and advocacy organization of blind people, visit nfb.org.

About Sensotec NV

Sensotec NV was founded in Bruges in 1986 as a company focused on the development of aids for blind children, their parents, and teachers in mainstream education. Over the years, their efforts have expanded to include the development, manufacturing, and distribution of highly sophisticated technological aids for the blind, visually impaired and individuals with reading and learning differences such as dyslexia. Sensotec is a proud partner in the development of KNFB Reader technologies.

Sensotec’s mission is to provide the most effective assistive technology solutions to people with a visual impairment, reading or learning difficulties and to support them in the efficient use of these solutions.

Partners

Valued partners include Google, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, and others.