And to cash in on the trend, Toshiba has come up with an electronic book store "Book Place" on its Android or iOS devices.
Kumiko Seguchi, Head and Senior Manager, Cloud Solutions Div, Toshiba Corporation, said: "Toshiba is focusing on promoting reading which is fun, and not just providing electronic books. For example, our text to speech function, which has been developed by our advanced ICT technology, provides significant clarity."
Also, Toshiba Corporate Research and Development Center has developed speech synthesis technology called "ToSpeak Core".
Masahiro Morita, Senior Research Scientist, Corporate Research and Development Center, Toshiba Corporation, said: "Toshiba produces various products and we have been developing speech synthesis technology to be installed in products like mobile phones and iPads. Speech synthesis is commonly used in car navigation systems and products such as elevators."
He added: "We aim to develop our speech synthesis technology to make it closer to human speech by using emotionally rich expressions, not just a simple reading of text. Also, we are designing a technology which is fun to listen to."
Toshiba provides online speech synthesis cloud service for entertainment, PR and educational use.
Anyone can try out the ToSpeak Core speech synthesis service, free of charge. Users can also synthesize their own voice.
Yuri Sato, ToSpeak User, said: "I like the function of choosing a character's voice. I'd love to entertain my kids with character voices of my choice. The kids would be excited if the bedtime story was a horror story with a scary voice."
A Japanese firm Fujitsu has developed an enhanced security system called Palm Vein Biometric Authentication, which makes cash withdrawals easier as you don't need to remember your ATM PIN code.
The Palm Secure system has been introduced in Japan as well as overseas banks.
To withdraw money from an ATM with Palm Secure, the user needs to insert a cash card, and then hold the palm above the palm vein biometric authentication sensor to check the concordance with the registered palm vein data.
It only takes 0.6 seconds for authentication and safe withdrawal of money.
Akira Wakabayashi of Fujitsu said: "We are now using a sensor of this size in banks, but we are willing to make it sensor smaller and lighter so that it can be installed in various products. If the sensor is miniaturized to this size, it can be used for laptops. Furthermore, we will be developing sensors that can be installed in mobiles and smart phones."
Palm Vein Biometric Authentication is used for various other purposes.
Some local municipalities in Japan have introduced the system for identity verification to prevent the leakage of personal information.
In India, the Indian Railways has been using the technology for authentication of their crew's alcohol check and attendance management.
In China, where pension frauds have been a social issue, provinces including Henan have started introducing Palm Vein Biometric Authentication.
In Turkey, under the government's instruction, medical organizations are required to install the system to prevent bogus claims of medical expenses by checking the actual attendance of patients.
Currently, it is said that total of 33 million people worldwide have signed up for Palm Vein Biometric Authentication.
--ANI (Posted on 17-09-2013)