Accessible Technology is constantly evolving. With every new development, not only is the quality of life improved for a visually impaired individual, but so is their ability to excel at work! Today, companies are adopting and implementing accessible technology to give their employees the tools they need to succeed. But with so many different options, it is hard to determine which product would be best for your company. There are many factors to consider when making a decision such as this; starting with the specific needs of your employees and the extent of their visual disability. The list below (in no specific order) is comprised of the most highly recommended accessible technologies being utilized today.
(Please note: Starfire Dynamics, Inc. does not have any contract to market or sell any of the products discussed below.)
Top 10 Accessible Technologies:
JAWS or Job Access with Speech was developed for computer users whose vision prevents them from seeing the screen or navigating with a mouse. It quickly became one of the most popular screen readers and remains so to this day. Screens readers are software programs that allow blind users to read text that is being displayed on the screen with a speech synthesizer or Braille display. Working in correlation with many computer applications, JAWS provides speech and Braille output to aid users with visual disabilities in navigating the Internet, writing documents, checking email and much more!
The Braille Express 150 is a top of the line Braille printer that embosses two-sided, inter-point Braille at a speed of 150 characters per second. Complete with a 500-page memory, this Braille printer can handle even your largest projects. In addition, the Braille Express is built in a durable and transportable case, perfect for professionals who conduct business both in the office and on the go.
MozBraille is an independent accessible Internet browser for the blind and visually impaired. It is an extension of Mozilla and Firefox that offers users a choice of 3 different displays, Braille output, text to speech output, and big characters view. The browser provides all the benefits of a screen reader, without the need of a third-party system.
KNFB Reader app allows users to quickly and accurately convert any text to speech or Brialle with ease. All users need to do is take a photo of the text, whether it is a PDF or hard copy document and the KNFB Reader will read back the text aloud. It also has text-highlighting functions, making it a valuable asset to any visually impaired employee or individual alike. In addition, the app allows you to save and share any documents that have been uploaded. Available for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices, KNFB can be used anytime or anywhere and on all your mobile devices.
The RNIB PenFriend2 is an audio labeler designed for easy and simple use. Operated by 4 set buttons (power, record, volume, and mode), users can easily record and rerecord notes and labels. Once a note or description is recorded, users can tag notebooks or items with small adhesives stickers that when scanned, will readback the set message aloud. This product can be used both at home and in the office to stay organized, as well as keep track of any open tasks. Additionally, Voice recordings have no time limit and can be as long as the user requires. Equipped with 4GB of memory and powered by 2 AAA batteries (over 250 hours of use), there is no cause for concern on running out of recording space or power mid use. Lastly, 127 labels are included with the device and additional labels can be purchased if needed.
The VP SpotDot is a complete two in one Braille and inkjet color printer. This product is a great option for any office setting where both visually impaired and sighted people work together. Complete with Tiger Software Suite to work in combination with Word and Excel, to create and translate documents into Braille. Operating at 50 characters per second and with 300 DPI color and black ink, the VP SpotDot is an intrinsic tool for any professional setting.
Embossing at a speed of 200 characters per second, the VP Elite can handle all of your Braille requirements quickly and reliably. Additionally, it has a double-sided printer mode and 3 adjustable Braille dot heights. The VP Elite is one of the highest quality Braille printing systems on the market today. It is compatible with Windows 7, 8/8.1, 10 and can be directly connected into with the use of a USB cable.
The MyEye 2 by OrCam utilizes top of the line AI technology to bring sight to the blind and visually impaired. This wearable assistive technology can read text, recognize faces and identify everyday items. With the help of lightweight magnetic mounts, the MyEye can connect to just about any eyeglass frames. Due to its portability, wireless design and no required internet connect, the MyEye is changing the way blind and visually impaired individuals live their everyday life. Helping to empower the user and aid them in living an independent lifestyle.
iZoom is a top-rated screen reading magnifier with enhancement capabilities ranging from 1.25x to 32x. However, the iZoom does not stop at magnification. It goes further to enhance colors in multiple ways to reduce stress on the user’s eyes. A few examples of color enhancement are invert brightness, replacing whites, and blue tints. In addition, to help with navigating, the software allows users to enlarge the mouse as well as, change its color to make it easier to find. With the goals of increased independence and efficiency in mind, iZoom is a must have for any employee struggling with a visual disability.
MAGic is a screen magnification and screen reading solution for low vision computer users. Compatible with many business applications it can help you work more efficient and independently. In addition, it allows users to read documents, emails, navigate the Internet and much more with ease. Delivering smooth and crisp letters even at the top magnification levels. Sold in 2 separate packages, one with audio speech and one without allowing for 3 separate computer downloads.
For any employer, it is important to recognize and understand the various needs of your esteemed staff. Employees who are visually impaired can be self sufficient and greatly increase their efficiency with the simple addition of one or more of the products above. However, the options do not stop here! There are plenty of assistive technologies available today, that can be the difference between success and failure to employees and entrepreneurs with visual disabilities.