Apps for visually impaired go portable

Serotek, a developer of accessibility software and systems, has adopted the U3 smart drive standard

A software suite designed to increase accessibility for visually impaired and other computer users has been released for the U3 platform, which allows programs to be run on most Windows PCs directly from a USB flash drive.

Serotek's FreedomBox, which includes web browsing, email, streaming media and instant messaging applications, is bundled along with the company's System Access software in the package. The company says this will allow users to implement a text-to-speech and speech-to-text command interface for Windows and applications including Word, Firefox and Skype by plugging in a USB drive.

Members of the FreedomBox Network, which costs $129 (£69) a year, can download the full package from Serotek's website/>.

"I can walk up to a computer and access the device manager and control panel and repair a computer with System Access loaded," said Stephen Nutt, who is the founder of UK distributor Computer Room Services and who, like several Serotek developers, is blind. "It's like having your screen in your pocket," he added.