From high tech to low tech!
There are many assistive technology devices and solutions — from high tech to low tech and at a range of prices — that can make your world easier to negotiate. There are also basic tools available that can help with everyday tasks and make a world of difference.
We asked Lighthouse Guild experts to compile a list of some of the latest assistive technology and some tried and true solutions for people who are blind or have low vision.
Interested in Tech?
Lighthouse Guild advises that anyone interested in using technology should get an exam by a vision specialist to assess your needs, offer recommendations and write a referral for a Technology Evaluation by an Occupational Therapistat Lighthouse Guild.
We recommend that this evaluation be conducted by one of Lighthouse Guild’s Low Vision Optometrists, who have specialized training and are well versed in the latest technological devices. However, your current eye care specialist (usually an Ophthalmologist) may be able to refer you directly for a Lighthouse Guild Technology Evaluation by our Occupational Therapists. For information on getting an assessment go to the Technology Center Q&A.
To help with reading and navigating surroundings.
Wearable Assistive Technology
Wearable technology has grown in popularity and many already have accessibility options built in – mainstream products like watches and bracelets give information regarding health and fitness – there are smart eyeglasses assisting in communication and providing entertainment – and with continued technological advances in artificial intelligence and augmented reality there’s more to come.
Wearable Assistive Technologies for people who are blind or visually impaired include devices that are developed from the ground up with vision loss in mind. The premise of these devices is to allow increased functionality in activities of daily living. Some can help with reading, watching television or sporting events, computer use and work.
Many are head-worn, utilizing AI and computer vision, and gives audio feedback and used by someone who is blind or low vision. Others use glasses with LED screens, near the eyes, or virtual reality (VR) like goggles; provide magnification for someone who is visually impaired. There are many devices and technologies to choose from – to maximize success as part of your vision rehabilitation it is important to know which one is right for you. Here are some of the assistive devices that may be recommended when you have a Technology Evaluation at the Lighthouse Guild Technology Center.
This cutting-edge technology uses a smart camera which speaks aloud information to the wearer. The device is about the size of a finger, weighs less than an ounce and attaches magnetically to most any eyeglasses. Activated by a finger-pointing gesture, voice commands or automatically the device can read printed text from a document or digital screen and seamlessly recognize people, products, barcodes, money, and color perception.
The company also makes a handheld version called the OrCam Read, which is a mini-flashlight-size device that functions to read text only and can be adjusted to capture an entire page or just read a portion of text.
Both devices work offline, are Bluetooth enabled and have a smart reading feature where you can ask for the information you want from the text.
Uses smart software lens technology that allows for up to 14X magnification for near reading or other near activities, as well as intermediate and distance viewing. Iris Vision has the ability for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) reading and connects to Wi-Fi to allow streaming of online videos. The device comes in two designs – The Iris Vision Live, a VR enclosed headset design utilizing a smart phone, controlled by an intuitive touch pad. Iris Vision Inspire an all-new lightweight low profile eyeglasses design with tactile button controls tethered to a smart phone. Both devices also respond to voice commands and have an RP mode for people with peripheral vision loss.
A wireless head mounted device with a high-speed, high-definition camera presenting two near-to-eye screen displays for near and distance viewing activities. It provides up to 24X magnification with the ability to adjust color and contrast to preference. The device has a halo comfort band with an open design and a bioptic tilt allowing for quick spotting and greater use of an individual’s own peripheral vision. eSight can be controlled by its built-in controls on the actual device, a wireless remote or via a mobile app – it also can be connected to a computer or smart phone to surf the web or stream a video right in the display.
Created to compensate for central vision loss, this glasses-like design uses a high-resolution camera which project on screens inside the glasses and can magnify near or distance up to 10X magnification. The software, controlled through a smart phone, allows for auto-zoom as well as control of contrast, brightness, and color to maximize someone’s activities of daily living. There are two different eyewear designs. The Eyedaptic EYE3 is a completely wireless self-contained open design with a battery that can be changed on the fly for extended and easy use. The Eyedaptic EYE4 is an ultra-lightweight eyewear design tethered to a cell phone for all-in-one battery charging.
This device uses a comfortable fitting virtual reality headset with a 4K Ultra HD screen providing magnified viewing for near and far with a 101-degree field of view. Control is either through a wireless remote or three buttons on the side of the device allowing for variable magnification, different contrasts, or choose the OCR mode for reading aloud. Connect to Wi-Fi to stream videos or surf the web.
Television watching made simple! An enclosed virtual reality type headset which connects wirelessly to your cable box through a connected TV Hub. Watch television at any angle inside the device and enlarge up to 10X magnification. Also allows for magnified reading, OCR reading and distance viewing. An optional Computer Link is available to view your desktop from within the headset as well as a portable mini stationary CCTV camera for reading.
Simple solutions that make a huge difference.
Verilux Smart Lamp
Gooseneck-style lighting is very helpful for people with low vision as it can be raised and lowered in order to direct the light for reading and tasks.
Hand-Held Magnifier with Light
A simple hand-held magnifier with a light can be very useful for quick spot reading, such as reading a price tag, a label or a phone number.
“Say When” Liquid Level Indicator
Worried about over-spilling your glass or mug. Hang the “Say When” device on the side of the cup and it will alert you with an audible sound when full.
Self-adhesive tactile stickers you can used to mark buttons, switches, or controls. Place on appliance controllers like microwaves and dishwasher or use on a keyboard or number panel for orientation.
For more information on technology to help people with vision loss or about Lighthouse Guild’s Technology Center
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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