The Talking Bar Code Reader

ScanTellScanTELL allows individuals with visual impairments and reading disabilities to independently identify bar coded retail and personal items.

ScanTELL identifies and speaks the names of bar-coded products, thus allowing people who are visually impaired or have reading problems to easily and accurately identify retail products and personal items in their homes with no assistance from others.

Bar code labels on work, personal, or retail items are input via a bar code scanner. The items are then located in a cross-referenced, relational database. The description of each successfully identified item is output using voice synthesizer software and hardware.

ScanTELL incorporates bar code scanning, voice synthesis, and database technologies in a user-friendly package that can be operated without assistance from others.


  • The Bar Code Scanning Module inputs Universal Product Code (UPC), Code 39, and other bar code symbologies from labeled items via laser beam or contact type scanners, converts the codes to ASCII data, and transfers these data to the ScanTELL Database Application.
  • The Database Application extracts item information from the relational database. It also allows importing, manual entry, and editing of bar codes and related information, plus database maintenance.
  • The Voice Synthesizer accepts item data from the ScanTELL Database Application and provides clearly audible output of the relevant information. It also generates "spoken" prompts, guidance, notifications, and warnings to users.


  • Operates on desktop and personal computers.
  • Employs audible user prompts and requires minimal keyboard usage.
  • Includes a complete database management system with user-definable databases.
  • Offers enhanced capabilities and greater personal independence to the visually impaired and those with reading or related problems due to age, illiteracy, or physical or developmental disabilities.
  • Used in manufacturing facilities, retail shipping and receiving depots, the pharmaceutical industry, libraries, hospitals, and rehabilitation centres.

Sample applications include:

  • Lending Libraries;
  • Shipping and Receiving;
  • Independent Braille Training;
  • Filing Systems;
  • Retail Applications;
  • Inventory Control; and,
  • CD, Disk, and Disk Collections.

Unique Capabilities

ScanTELL is the only product that allows the visually impaired to identify personal items and retail products on their own. Initial training and explanation takes just one or two minutes. The modular nature of ScanTELL means that you purchase only what you need, especially if you already own a personal computer and a voice synthesizer (i.e. AcuVoice or SounText).

A survey conducted by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) indicated that 70% of their clients want to own a ScanTELL system. To date, ScanTELL has been displayed and demonstrated to audiences in California, New York, Illinois, Minneapolis, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and has received an overwhelmingly positive response each time.

Compusult is constantly implementing additional enhancements to meet the demands of a wider range of users and industries.

System Requirements

ScanTELL is currently available for Windows 95 and MS-DOS based desktop, notebook, and palmtop PCs.

Windows 95 version minimal requirements - 16MB of RAM, Pentium 90 processor, 20 MB of hard disk space, bar code scanner with keyboard wedge interface, CD-ROM, a SoundBlaster 16 compatible sound card, and a compatible speech synthesizer. (The current synthesizers completely compatible with ScanTELL are AcuVoice and SounText, both available through Compusult.)

You will require an additional 300MB of hard disk space if you wish to install AcuVoice directly on your hard drive. Please note, you can also run it directly from your CD-ROM if space is limited but this will slightly reduce the speed of ScanTELL.

MS-DOS version minimal requirements - 640 KB of RAM, 5MB of hard disk space, and serial and parallel ports. A bar-code scanner with a serial interface and a voice synthesizer and a compatible sound card are also required.

Compusult can provide various software and hardware combinations to match your specific needs. ScanTELL incorporates bar code scanning, voice synthesis, and database technologies in a user-friendly package.

ScanTELL Desktop

  • ScanTELL software and database
  • Desktop or handheld bar code scanner
  • Internal or external voice synthesizer
  • Options: wireless scanner (not recommend for a legally blind person), voice transmitter, bar code printer
  • ScanTELL Notebook
  • ScanTELL software and database
  • Handheld bar code scanner
  • External voice synthesizer (parallel port or PCMCIA slot connection)
  • Battery or A/C powered
  • Pricing Information

Download the ScanTell Brochure Buy Now (GSA)

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