The Orcam Smart Read, Eshenback Vario Digital 22″ w/x-y table and the Looky 6 HD
Three amplifying instruments offering visual assistance, some with audio and all with strong magnification qualities, are now available for use at the Mastic Beach Branch.
Up until recently, the ability to read something as simple as a birthday card was immensely challenging for people with low vision. Thankfully, digitization has greatly expanded the technology that enhances seeing and reading in devices designed for this population. They are portable and easy to use. We tested these cutting-edge tools and this is what we found.
Librarians aimed the portable, handheld Looky 6 HD at book stacks 10 feet away and the book titles appeared enormous before our eyes. We walked around with the Looky, holding it up, down, and sideways, marveling as we were able to read miniscule words from afar.
What the Looky magnified, the Orcam Smart Read stated out loud. A portable tool, as well, the Smart Read fits in a person’s hand and reads everything it’s pointed at in a calm, soothing voice (not the robotic-sounding voice you might expect).
The third device, the Eshenback Vario Digital 22″ w/x-y table, is a digital document “plate” that makes monitor-viewing a breeze with almost 100 x magnification. Its maneuverability is especially noteworthy, as it’s easy to adjust the knobs to brighten and expand the screen while homing in on a particular area of a document.
It’s important to note that these devices, although geared for the low-vision community, have other applications, as well. A surprising find about the Orcam Smart Read is that it helps children with dyslexia. When students read with the Smart Read in hand, it improves their reading ability. And finally, for historians beset by the tiny scrawl of old manuscripts, all of these devices can open doors to the past by aiding and abetting transcriptions.
Available for use by all MMSCL users.