Cell Phone Can Read Documents for Blind

Chris Danielsen fidgets with the cell phone, holding it over a $20 bill. ''Detecting orientation, processing U.S. currency image,'' the phone says in a flat monotone before Danielsen snaps a photo. A few seconds later, the phone says, ''Twenty dollars.''

Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, is holding the next generation of computerized aids for the blind and visually impaired.

The Nokia cell phone is loaded with software that turns text on photographed documents into speech. In addition to telling whether a bill is worth $1, $5, $10 or $20, it also allows users to read anything that is photographed, whether it's a restaurant menu, a phone book or a fax. (AP)