Summarised from an article on CNet's news.com
Monday, 20th Novemeber, 2000 : Microsoft and Pulse Data International said that they are planning to develop an e-book reader for the blind and visually impaired.
Microsoft will be integrating their Microsoft Reader software into Pulse Data's eNote family. The eNote family is a set of devices that translate text into both speech and braille.
Currently it takes, on average, 18 months for a book to be published into a braille version, if they are ever printed. With e-books getting more acceptance, users will be able to read or listen as soon as the e-book is released.
BrailleNote, which is expected to be available in mid-2001 and cost from $3,400 to $5,000, will also have built-in modem to enable sending and receiving of email messages.
As an alternate devices, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) unveiled an e-book reader, in September. Thier braille reader connects to a computer or a portable device and translates any document. NIST estimates that its reader would cost about $1,000, however it is not a stand alone device, so the added cost of the computer should be factored in.