Grace Murray Hopper Award
United States – 1978
CITATION

For his development of a unique reading machine for the blind, a computer-based device that reads printed pages aloud. The Kurzweil machine is an 80-pound device that shoots a beam of light across each printed page, converts the reflected light across each printed page, converts the reflected light into digital data that is analyzed by its built-in computer, and then transformed into synthetic speech. It is expected to make reading of all printed material possible for blind people, whose reading was previously limited to material translated into Braille. The machine would not have been possible without another achievement by Kurzweil, that is, a set of rules embodied in the mini-computer program by which printed characters of a wide variety of sizes and shapes are reliably and automatically recognized.