Assistive Technology for People with Visual Disabilities
Tools that provide access to people who are blind or have low vision are available to help with a variety of tasks, including telephone use, cooking, self-care, and even carpentry. These tools usually provide output in at least one of three ways: audio, magnification, or braille.
Large button telephones can make dialing easier for people with low vision. They may have additional features, such as audio amplification.
For individuals who are both deaf and blind, the VTouch TTY provides a keyboard for input and a refreshable braille interface for output.
Notetaking devices designed for people with visual disabilities may have braille output, speech output, or both. Some may have additional features, such as calendaring or Internet connectivity.
As mainstream devices become more accessible and more compatible with assistive technology out of the box, the need for specialized devices will decrease. For example, mobile Apple devices are compatible with over 30 refreshable braille displays via Bluetooth connectivity.
A surprising number of common household items are available in models that include a speech output capability. These are usually available through specialty vendors, such as The Lighthouse Store, Independent Living Aids, Maxiaids, or LS&S.
Products in this category include mainstream health aids such as thermometers and scales, as well as specialty items such as glucose meters, medicine bottle label readers, and blood pressure monitors.
Carpentry and Electrical Aids
Devices available with speech output capabilities range from battery testers to shop tools. Logger Pro, a software program that works with various measuring devices, is compatible with the JAWS screen reader. The director of the Center for Accessible Technology wrote an article about carpentry tips for individuals with low vision.