Capti Narrator Has a Story to Tell


captiEvery year when I go to the Consumer Electronics Show (which the sponsors call the International CES), I try to spend some time in the back halls, and the exhibits off the convention floor where you can often find the startup companies that may become future stars.  One such company is CharmTech Labs, a software company founded by computing professors at Stony Brook University on New York’s Long Island.  CharmTech has created Capti Narrator, a very clever free iPhone app that will allow you to capture text from a wide variety of sources and have it read back to you as speech.  It can capture text from webpages, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other sources.  Then you can have the text read back to you or you can put it into a playlist for later playback.  In theory, the application will let you take an e-book and convert it into an audio book.  The only drawback I could find is that the app does not allow you to highlight and select a portion of a document.  You get the complete document or webpage from beginning to end.

We installed in on the iPhone and found it very intuitive.  For those of us challenged by small print on a smartphone, this is a convenient way of capturing information and having it read back at a time and place of your CAPTI 2choosing.

While Capti Narrator is free, CharmTech makes its money by selling you voices to read back the text.  Their included voice is decent, but not great.  Generally, the more expensive the voice, the more lifelike the narration.  They generally range in price from about $2.00 to $6.00.

CharmTech is also developing browser based versions of the Capti Narrator app for both Windows and Mac, but as of now it only works on the Firefox browser.  in short, this is a really useful app that could help out boomers, seniors, and the rest of us who either have trouble reading text on a smartphone, or simply would prefer to have the text read back to us when we’re in a car, on a train, or doing something else.


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Gary is an award-winning journalist who has been covering technology since IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. Beginning at NBC News, then at ABC News, Ziff Davis, CNN, and Fox Business Network. Kaye has a history of “firsts”. He was the first to bring a network television crew to the Comdex Computer Show, the first technology producer on ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the first to produce live coverage of the Solar Power International Conference, and the creator of the Fox Business Network signature series, “Three Days In The Valley”. Along the way he created the History Channel Multimedia Classroom. He has been a contributor to both AARP’s website and to AARP radio, as well as to a handful of other print and web-based publications where he specializes in issues involving boomers/seniors and technology. He has been a featured speaker and moderator at industry events such as the Silvers Summit and Lifelong Tech Conferences at CES, the M-Enabling Health Summit, and the What’s Next Baby Boomer Business Summit. His column, “Technology Through Our Eyes” appears in half a dozen newspapers and websites across the country.


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