TopOCR Reader 3.0

TopOCR Reader is a PC-based Reading Machine application for use with document cameras that can help someone who has difficulty reading almost any kind of printed material. It has a very easy to learn Visually Accessible User Interface and a very powerful state-of-the-art OCR (Optical Character Reading) system that transforms text images into speech that can be played on a headset or saved on an MP3 Player or Flash Drive. TopOCR Reader can read and speak in eleven different languages (English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish), and all it takes is just one key F8 to select any of the supported languages.

TopOCR Reader automatically performs text orientation correction on each scanned image, so even if your documents are placed sideways or upside down, TopOCR Reader will always be able to read and display them in the proper orientation. TopOCR Reader will also use its Text To Speech System to notify you if the light level is too low for effective reading.

TopOCR Reader's Accessible User Interface is completely "self voicing" so it doesn't require an external screen reader. All OCR processing is performed locally on your PC, making the process faster and more convenient. This also makes it possible for you to read documents in situations where you don't have a network connection.

What about OCR accuracy? When TopOCR Reader was compared to KNFB Reader (the leading Accessible OCR Smartphone application), the result of the comparison was that TopOCR Reader with the Tesseract LSTM OCR classifier had 80% less OCR errors thanks to its advanced image processing and OCR technology! Our Sample Camera Images page shows TopOCR Reader is able to read 7 out of 8 of the sample camera images with no errors, and only minor errors on the remaining eighth. If you are using a Windows 10 PC, TopOCR Reader supports the use of TAO OCR which provides even greater OCR performance!

TopOCR Reader also includes the "SeeHear Visual Translator". This function can recognize up to 1,000 different objects from your webcam and automatically uses TopOCR Reader's Text To Speech system to announce the results!

TAO OCR - Tesseract Accelerated OCR (Windows 10 Only!)

TAO OCR is a very high performance multilingual OCR engine optimized for document cameras. It can read with greater than 99.8% accuracy with a 5.0 MP document camera, even with lower quality images. TAO OCR is not only super-accurate, it's also super-fast, with an average reading speed of under two seconds per page! If you are running on Windows 10, TopOCR Reader will automatically select the TAO OCR recognizer for all supported languages. If you are running on an earlier version of Windows, TopOCR Reader will instead automatically select the standard Tesseract LSTM recognition engine which is multi-platform.

Note: TAO OCR is a derivitive of the same OCR engine used in Microsoft's "Seeing AI" application! However, instead of an Android or iPhone app, it is available as a Windows DeskTop application with OCR processing that executes directly on your PC instead of through a "cloud" interface. As a result, TopOCR Reader is much faster than any of the current mobile versions of Seeing AI, on top of being more accurate than any previous PC-based Accessible OCR application.

SeeHear Visual Translator

The SeeHear Visual Translator is a Deep Convolutional Neural Network that can recognize 1,000 different types of objects based on the ImageNet Image DataBase. When you press the SeeHear function key F5, it will announce to you through TopOCR Reader's Text To Speech System a list of 5 objects that it has recognized in a frame captured from your webcam.

SeeHear 27 Layer Deep Neural Network

  1. arbitrary resolution RGB webcam image is automatically scaled to Neural Network input layer
  2. 19 deep convolutional layers
  3. 5 down sampling layers
  4. 1 non-linear down-sampling layer
  5. 1 softmax loss layer
  6. 1 cost layer
  7. recognition output is automatically converted to Text To Speech and played on your headset

SeeHear's Deep Convolutional Neural Network requires nearly 25 billion floating point calculations to process the full network pipeline with all 27 layers. It takes about 3 seconds for this network to perform an inference on a VGA sized(640x480) webcam image using a 4-core Intel 3.4GHz i7-6700 (CPU only).

Before you use SeeHear, make sure you have a webcam with a resolution of 640x480 or greater attached to your PC!

To use SeeHear, press the F6 key to select the proper webcam, then point your webcam at any scene you want to recognize, and then press the F5 key. You will immediately hear a "ticking clock" sound that can last from 2-12 seconds depending on the speed of your PC, followed by the list of recognized objects spoken to you through TopOCR Reader's Text To Speech interface. If you want to return to document scanning, then press the F6 key and select your document camera instead of your webcam, or you can press the F5 key again to recognize another frame from your webcam.

A recommended platform to use with SeeHear would be a notebook PC running Windows 10 in the $299 to $599 price range with a built-in webcam and HDMI port.

Note: Currently, SeeHear's list of 1,000 recognizable objects is English only.

TopOCR Reader's Function Keys


TopOCR Reader has 12 Function Keys that are organized as 7 command keys plus 5 option keys. Whenever you use an option key to change a particular setting, the change is permanently stored on your PC until you decide to change it again. Here is a brief functional description of all of the Accessible Function Keys:

F1 - Scan an image, OCR the image, and read the OCR Output
F2 - Pause/Resume reading
F3 - Save the OCR text output as an MP3 audio file and copy it to an MP3 player or save it as text and copy it to a flash drive
F4 - Magnify and Enhance Image
F5 - SeeHear Visual Translator - announce a list of objects recognized in a webcam image
F6 - Select Document Camera or WebCam - Default if only 1 camera is present
F7 - Select Capture Delay Timer for Image Capture - Default is 10 seconds
F8 - Select Language for OCR and Speech - Default is English
F9 - Select Voice - select the Text To Speech voice using either MS Speech or SAPI Text To Speech voices
F10 - Select Volume - select the volume of the voice
F11 - Audio and Screen Help Information
F12 - Exit TopOCR Reader

TopOCR Reader's Control Keys

TopOCR Reader also uses 6 easy to locate (Control+QWERTY) top level control keys that are described below:

Control-Q - switch between the Accessible User Interface mode and the standard Windows GUI mode - the default is the Accessible User Interface mode.
Note: Switching to the standard Windows GUI mode will allow you to share TopOCR Reader with the rest of your family!

The GUI mode in TopOCR Reader has been built with a custom menu font that is 1/3 larger than the standard Windows menu font used in all other Windows applications. In addition it also uses a special high contrast color pattern instead of the usual low contrast black/gray combination of standard Windows applications. As a result, some low vision users may be more comfortable using TopOCR Reader with the GUI mode instead of the Accessible mode.

Control-W - turn ON/OFF "Debug Mode" (before OCR text is spoken - announce number of spelling errors) - default is OFF.
Note: "Spelling Errors" is a relative number that is a combination of recognition errors and words that are not present in the dictionary.

Control-E - list all of the installed languages for TAO OCR.
Note: - list the language supported by the TAO OCR engine.

Control-R - switch between TAO OCR and LSTM OCR for recognition.
Note: - lets you select the best OCR engine for your particular documents (Windows 10 Only)

Control-T - turn ON/OFF Straighten Columns mode, default is OFF.
Note: - lets you use column straightening which can also remove clipped columns and graphics to make reading easier, and will also announce if edges of text columns are clipped.

Control-Y - change the format of the saved OCR text output as either an MP3 audio or raw text file.

TopOCR Reader's Scroll Control Keys

TopOCR Reader also has four keys to allow you to scroll a displayed image.

Down Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image downward
Up Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image upward
Left Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image to the left
Right Arrow - Scroll the currently displayed image to the right

TopOCR Reader's Image Magnification and Enhancement Key

Users with low vision have the option of using the F4 magnification key to make a magnifed, enhanced contrast image. All you need is a $20 HDMI cable to connect your PC to a large wide screen HDTV to turn it into a high quality video magnifier. The HDMI interface will also pass-through the Text To Speech audio output allowing you to control the volume with your TV remote.

TopOCR Reader's Text To Speech System

TopOCR Reader provides a very easy to use interface to a very powerful concept! It merges free medium quality Microsoft Speech voices and any optional SAPI voices you may have installed for a particular language into a single list of available voices. TopOCR Reader maintains a pointer to the current voice index in this voice list, and all speech is performed using this pointer. To change to a different voice, all you have to do is move this pointer, and you can easily do that using the F9 key.

TopOCR Reader does have a dependency on a MS Speech voice being available, in addition please note, TopOCR Reader is configured to be a US English system out of the box. If you are operating on a version of Windows on any location other than US English, then you will need to download the MicroSoft Speech English voice and optionally any additional voices you may require. Please go to our Voices page for more information.

TopOCR Reader Installation

After you double-click on the TopOCRReader installation file there are 3 steps to complete the installation:

  1. Select "Yes" to allow User Account Control to install the program
  2. Press "Enter" to begin installation
  3. Press "Enter" to finish installation

TopOCR Reader Configuration

Once you've installed TopOCR Reader on your PC then you're ready to configure it for use with your document camera. This generally only needs to be done once and takes just a few seconds to complete.

1. Plug your document camera into a USB 2.0 port on your PC.
2. Launch the TopOCR Reader application by typing Ctrl+Alt+Q from the DeskTop Window.
3. TopOCR Reader's default language is English, if you want to use the Accessibile User Interface with another language, then use the F8 key to select another language.
4. If you have a PC with more than one webcam/document camera, use the F6 key to select the correct document camera.

TopOCR Reader's configuration, like its operation is 100% Accessible, there are no on screen dialogs, menus, or buttons that would require the use of an external screen reader. All functions are handled through the keyboard.

Please note that if you're using Windows 7 then you'll also need to download and install the Text To Speech Engine and required Voices. If you are using Windows 8 or Windows 10, you will not need to download and install the Text To Speech Engine, as it is already installed on these versions of Windows. If you're using Windows 8 or Windows 10 on non-US English versions of Windows you will however need to download the appropriate voices as they may not be included on your platform.

TopOCR Reader and the Clipboard

After OCR, TopOCR Reader automatically places the recognized text in the clipboard, and it also allows you to paste images with "Control-V" into the clipboard and have them automatically read to you. A "quick and dirty" screen reader can be easily implemented in TopOCR Reader by typing "Ctrl + Alt + Print Screen" and then typing "Control V" in TopOCR Reader.

TopOCR Reader's Global Illumination Check

Whenever you press the F1 key to OCR a document, TopOCR Reader will measure the total amount of available light on the scanned image. If this value is too low then TopOCR Reader will give you a text to speech warning and will also provide you with the global illumination value. If this number is very low, below 10 for instance, it means that there is very little illumination. Please note that if you have a dark background and a small text image, it can give a lower than expected value, and as a result may generate a false warning.

TopOCR Reader's Keyboard Shortcut

When you install TopOCR Reader it automatically creates a keyboard shortcut. Pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Q key combination will launch TopOCR Reader from the DeskTop. If you want to change the TopOCR Reader keyboard shortcut key to another letter, you can by using the following procedure:

1. Right-click on the DeskTop TopOCR Reader shortcut, and then click Properties
2. In the Shortcut Properties dialog box, click the Shortcut tab
3. Click in the Shortcut key box, press the key on your keyboard that you want to use in combination with Ctrl+Alt, for instance "G" and then click OK.

After this step has been performed, pressing Ctrl+Alt+G key combination will launch TopOCR Reader from the DeskTop.

Platform Requirements

OS: Windows 10 32/64 bit
RAM: 2 GB Minimum

Purchasing TopOCR Reader 3.0

You may purchase TopOCR Reader 3.0 through "MyCommerce®", our e-commerce provider, by clicking on the image below.

The cost is only $4.99 plus applicable tax. After you make the purchase, you will receive an email with download instructions. The download file size is 233.78 MB due to the inclusion of the neural net training files for all eleven supported languages and the SeeHear Visual Translator. If you have any problems, or questions regarding your order, please don't hesitate to contact us at: