Using Video Magnifiers and Screen Readers Video

Transcript of Video

NARRATOR 1: Chip Lanning and Carol Clem sitting in an office. A monitor, scanner, and video magnifier are on the desk.

NARRATOR 2: Advances in technology are allowing more people with vision loss, like Carol Ann Clem, to maximize their usable vision and maintain independence.

Here, technology specialist Chip Lanning instructs Carol on using a CCTV, closed-circuit television, also known as a video magnifier.

NARRATOR 1: Carol places a piece of paper on the tray of the video magnifier.

CHIP: The tough thing with these types of documents is that the print is so small.

NARRATOR 1: She moves the tray of the video magnifier from left to right, as well as toward and away from her.

NARRATOR 2: The device contains a camera to magnify printed material. By placing an item on a movable tray below the camera, the user can enlarge it to see it. In this case, Carol can once again see her monthly credit card statement.

NARRATOR 1: Carol examines large text on the monitor of the video magnifier.

CAROL: Finance charges, new balance. Oh, oh my God, I have credit, $17.52 That hasn't happened ever before. I must have returned something at the holiday season.

NARRATOR 2: The video magnifier allows Carol to customize features. That's important to Carol, who was born blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other.

She's able to enlarge words and numbers and can change the color combinations of the background and text, choosing those that allow her to read most easily.

CAROL: I have an eye condition where I can't use magnifiers, hand held. So this is a fabulous tool for me. I'm able to actually be independent, do my own bill paying, do my own reading.

NARRATOR 2: That's a stark contrast to Carol's life before she acquired a video magnifier.

CAROL: I had to depend on my parents. I had to depend on very close friends that wouldn't share my information with anyone else. And they mainly had to do my, opening my mail and paying my bills and doing things like that.

NARRATOR 1: Carol places a snapshot photo of a young child on the tray of the video magnifier.

NARRATOR 2: For those with vision loss, a video magnifier is widely considered a gateway to knowledge, and its usefulness extends far beyond paying bills. Carol uses it to find numbers in the phone book and read letters from friends.

CAROL: This is my letter from my friend Judy, and it starts out by saying, "Dear Carol, it was so nice to see you."

NARRATOR 2: She also uses this tool to write letters or notes. Like with any technology, it takes practice to use it efficiently.

NARRATOR 1: The screen of the video magnifier displays Carol's handwriting as she uses a pen. The text begins, "Dear Judy..." The image is high contrast white on black.

CHIP: The trick to writing underneath the CCTV is keeping your eyes up there on the screen while your hand and your pen is working down below.

NARRATOR 2: Carol says her video magnifier has literally brought life into focus. A kindergarten teacher for more than 25 years, she can now see the facial features of her students for the first time.

NARRATOR 1: A photo of Carol and eight children from her kindergarten class is displayed on the monitor.

CAROL: I can tell that Connor is touching Jack, and I can tell that Blake is looking at the camera and smiling, and Joanie and Katie are looking at the camera and smiling.

NARRATOR 2: Computer software technology has made surfing the web and using e-mail much easier for people with visual impairments.

Here, Carol and Chip use a screen enlargement and screen-reading program that makes text bigger, and uses a synthesized voice to read what's being typed.

NARRATOR 1: Chip types on the keyboard.

ELECTRONIC VOICE: ...r-e-e-r c-o-n-n-e-c-t period. O-r-g enter.

NARRATOR 2: Carol can also use the software to read and send e-mail. She's aided by a large print keyboard. This software can be easily tailored to her preferences, including controlling the speed of the voice and selecting the voice, both male and female.

NARRATOR 1: Carol chooses from a list of voice names on the computer screen.

ELECTRONIC VOICE: Rocko, Glen, Sandy.

NARRATOR 1: Chip adjusts the angle of the monitor.

CHIP: You can raise and lower the screen anywhere you want it.

NARRATOR 2: Although not technology per se, another tool that can help someone with low vision is a flexible arm that holds the computer monitor. It allows Carol to precisely adjust the distance the monitor sits from her based on her usable sight.

Carol admits she's pretty excited about all the technology, especially after Chip showed her how easy it is to book travel plans online.

NARRATOR 1: Carol examines a travel calendar on the computer.

CAROL: What I really like is that I can choose when I want to take my flight.

NARRATOR 2: Carol says the technology has empowered her.

CAROL: It also really boosts your self-esteem, knowing that you're able to do what everyone else is able to do. I feel now I'm invincible.

services icon Looking for Help?

Join Our Mission

Help us expand our resources for people with vision loss.