Electronic Reading Aid

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Electronic reading aids offer you a way to read with a larger screen and an easily navigable touchscreen, all while being gentle on your eyes. They feature non-glare screens which make reading comfortable.

These affordable solutions provide simple yet effective ways to preserve remaining vision for everyday use, from traditional hand magnifiers to advanced electric solutions.

Optelec offers a wide range of low vision aids

There is an array of assistive technologies designed to aid low vision. Each device serves a particular area of visual independence – for instance, traditional handheld magnifiers might offer spot magnification suitable for note taking, reading prescription labels or book covers; in contrast with electric handheld magnifiers that may offer up to 12x power magnification and portable LCD HD screens between 3.5″ to 6.5″.

Each device is tailored specifically to a certain type of reading or condition in terms of magnification, on-the-spot accessibility to print or text and OCR capabilities. To find the ideal assistive technology device, it is wise to connect with either a local low vision specialist or contact their manufacturer’s representative and schedule a demonstration.

Optelec offers desktop, portable and PC video magnifiers as well as OCR/text-to-speech reading and scanning devices to help people maintain remaining sight for visual impairments such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa and Stargardts disease.

Optelec’s medical breakthrough device eSight restores functional sight by employing two near-to-eye displays that offer users a natural and comfortable viewing experience for everyday activities. Equipped with features such as zooming, image capture, scene mode navigation and omnidirectional camera navigation; eSight offers patients a way to regain independence and quality of life.

Optelec’s ClearNote+ handheld electronic video magnifier is an accessible, user-friendly choice that makes printed materials easily accessible on the go. Boasting six hours of rechargeable battery power and plug and play technology, the ClearNote+ is ideal for work, school and travel – providing access to images stored, magnified and displayed using standard computer short keys while reading confidently both close up and distance using built-in reading lines and windows.

Video Magnifiers

Video magnifiers use cameras and an LCD or other flat-screen displays to digitally magnify printed materials, providing handheld or desktop users with low vision the means to continue work, hobbies, social activities and leisure pursuits at home, school or the workplace.

Optic magnifiers use lenses to magnify an image; video magnifiers use cameras instead. Their cameras capture objects or text at close range before magnifying it on-screen for greater magnification than hand-held magnifiers can. Furthermore, video magnifiers provide adjustable contrast, color modes and brightness settings as well as features like tracking an object that moves around or reading text out loud aloud.

Portable video magnifiers provide a convenient and portable option for those suffering from macular degeneration or other low vision conditions. Connected to any television with video input (cable included), these magnifiers enable users to magnify newspaper text, letters, recipes and prescription medication labels more comfortably from any hand-held device. They also feature adjustable contrast/zoom levels as well as built-in LED lighting capabilities and text-to-speech capabilities – additional benefits that help people improve their vision quickly.

While desktop video magnifiers tend to offer more features than handheld models, recent technologies have made handheld and portable video magnifiers more cost-effective and user-friendly – giving them an added benefit of being usable anywhere without needing internet or battery power.

Low vision sufferers often struggle with tunnel vision due to glaucoma or central blind spots caused by macular degeneration, making computer navigation challenging for them. Third-party screen magnification software such as MAGic LVS, SuperNova Magnifier and Zoom Text are capable of magnifying text and images on computers or laptops so they are easier to read. These programs can enlarge icons and other navigation items to make a user’s computer more accessible, while total blind users may wish to consider talking computers which use OCR technology to read documents and Web pages and convert their text into spoken speech. Furthermore, talking computers also display important navigational details like mouse pointer locations on-screen.

OCR/Text-to-Speech Readers

Text readers are computer programs for visually impaired individuals that use speech synthesis to read hard copy documents or web pages back to you, using either speech synthesis or keystroke control as their control system. A text reader may help reduce eyestrain when reading; also useful when navigating hyperlinked web pages. There are numerous available on the market today; most use keyboard keys as their control mechanism. In this project, one client had severe vision loss due to macular degeneration and required assistance with reading in order to decrease eyestrain while reading; also needed help navigating hyperlinked web pages while using speech synthesis technology as speech output from these readers would read them back out loud using keystroke control as control system. There were various available text readers on the market at that time – using keystrokes on keyboard control system were required as control system to navigate them using his controls, all available texts were in fact use keystrokes as control system. In this project he needed assistance in order to read back text content by way of macular degeneration resulting in vision loss and needed help reading using this text reader’s functionality so he could navigate web page hyperlinks contained therein as well.

OCR (or optical character recognition) software has become an industry standard and used by people looking for an electronic copy of paper documents without having to retype them. Unfortunately, most OCR software doesn’t read aloud; for that you need a “reading system.”

This research guide will cover some of the more popular reading systems on the market.

NaturalReader provides text-to-speech software designed specifically for personal and professional use, with natural sounding text-to-speech conversion from Microsoft Word documents, webpages, PDF files and emails into speech allowing individuals, schools and website owners to increase productivity and accessibility.

NaturalReader goes beyond its core features by offering additional customization tools that include reading margins, pronunciation modification options, multiple voice/language selection options and pausing and resume functionality.

C-Pen Reader for Android offers another solution for reading on the move, providing a portable handheld device that enables you to highlight text and have it read aloud aloud. It comes equipped with its own built-in microphone and supports various languages – it’s even possible to pair this device with external Bluetooth speakers or mobile phones so as to listen to audiobooks while on the go!

PowerNotes, a mobile application developed for Chrome browser plug-in/extension, allows users to select text from websites, PDFs, or email attachments and have it read aloud aloud by selecting and clicking. This program works on various platforms – Android, iOS, and Windows are supported.


Many libraries provide patrons with access to scanners in various forms for patron use. These range from flatbed and overhead scanners at Alden Library 2nd Floor and Music & Dance Library to microform scanners capable of reading microfilm, microfiche, m-cartridge and other formats; slides can also be scanned for free; large format maps may incur fees. For more information, see Libraries’ Scan, Copy and Print page.

General-purpose scanners for both office and home use typically feature either a light sensor flatbed scanner with glass platen and light sensor for document placement, an automatic document feeder for high volume scanning, and can usually scan up to a specified page length. They usually offer high resolution black-and-white and color scanning capability and feature large storage capacities.

Workgroup scanners are ideal for smaller to mid-sized office environments and work teams. Their high throughput can handle several thousand scans each day, while typically offering better paper handling features and software options than desktop models.

Departmental scanners are used by larger organizations for high-volume scanning needs. With greater durability than enterprise-class models and rapid scanning speeds – often without needing operator intervention – departmental scanners also boast features for high-resolution and bar code reading capabilities.

Sheetfeed scanners use similar basic technology as flatbed scanners but are tailored specifically to maximize throughput at the expense of image quality. They contain conveyor belts, rollers, drums or vacuum transport that move documents or pages through them while some also include special designs for oversize documents such as maps or architectural drawings.

Magnetic scanners read data written with magnetized ink or coded onto a magnetic strip on documents or cards. They’re commonly used for reading business card contact details, though they’re also capable of reading other types of documents; they typically aren’t as precise as optical character recognition (OCR) readers, however.

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