Raymond Kurzweil

Born: Feb. 12, 1948

Reading machine—When entrepreneur Kurzweil introduced the Kurzweil Reading Machine in 1976, it was hailed as the most important advance in reading for the blind since Braille. The machine scans ordinary printed materials, which are then read aloud by computer. Its text-to-speech process was considered a landmark in the use of artificial intelligence, and has provided the basis for numerous information technologies since. (2002)