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Disability Visual Aids: New Products and Review Information

  • Synopsis: Visual aids and adaptive technology products and their functions that enhance the lives of people with disabilities.

Definition: Visual Communication

Communication through a visual aid and described as the conveyance of ideas and information in forms that can be read or looked upon. Visual communication in part or whole relies on vision, and is primarily presented or expressed with two dimensional images, it includes: signs, typography, drawing, graphic design, illustration, Industrial Design, Advertising, Animation color and electronic resources.

There are 4 levels of visual function, according to the International Classification of Diseases:

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There are often misconceptions about people with disabilities. They arise from the lack of knowledge of what people can do and what adaptive technology is available to the disabled. As one with a disability I can tell you first hand how it is to have been labeled in a category. I was told that I would not be able to do this and that. Technology opened up a whole new world for me. Possibilities abounded to me that had not been there before.

A recent conversation comes to mind. I was speaking to a woman about the Non-Profit Foundation that I am a Co-Founder of. Our Foundation brings technology to the visually impaired and the disabled. We spoke about computer use. She told me that she thought that the visually impaired, especially the blind, did not use the computer and thus the internet. I explained to her the adaptive technology that is available for them to use. This is one example of how there are misconceptions about disabled persons. We will look at some of the adaptive technology and the functions that enhance lives today.

A Braille reader is used as an input device on a personal computer. This is direct touch for embossed point on Braille paper by an isolated thin metal wire which can connect to any other large/small computers.

A (CCTV) or closed-circuit television system uses a stand-mounted or handheld video camera that projects a magnified image onto a video monitor, a television (TV) screen, or a computer monitor.

Braille Displays operate by raising and lowering different combination's of pins electronically to produce in Braille format what appears on a portion of a computer screen. They show up to 80 characters from the screen and are refreshable. The Braille display sits on the user's desk. The advantage of the Braille display in comparison to synthetic speech is in its direct access to information. They also check format, spacing and spelling.

Electronic Braille note takers are small, portable devices with Braille keyboards for entering information. They use a speech synthesizer or a Braille display for output. The user then enters the information on the Braille keyboard and has the option of transferring it to a computer with more memory, reviewing it using the built in speech synthesizer or Braille display, or printing it on a Braille or on a printer.

Screen readers that tell the synthesizer what to say. The synthesizers used with computers are text-to-speech systems. Their programming includes all the phonemes and grammatical rules of a language. This allows them to pronounce words correctly.

Screen magnifiers come with many options and can reach high levels of magnification. Today's full-featured screen magnification programs are compatible with Windows Vista, XP, and NT/2000. For those who need more than magnification, it is possible to use a built-in screen reader with today's screen magnifiers.

Visual Aids - Benefits for Everyday Use

Vision Impairment Awareness Information

White awareness ribbonApproximately 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness. The white awareness ribbon represents blindness. October is Blindness Awareness Month, which was established to help people understand the realities of living without sight. As part of Eye Care Awareness Month people are encouraged to have an annual eye exam. The month of October has also been declared Children's Vision Month to encourage parents to book annual eye exams for their children to ensure their eye health.

World Sight Day - A global event that focuses on bringing attention on blindness and vision impairment. It is observed on the second Thursday of October each year.

Coming Dates:

  • Thu Oct 12 2017
  • Thu Oct 11 2018
  • Thu Oct 10 2019
  • Thu Oct 8 2020

Quick Facts: Vision

20/20 vision

A term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/40 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the chart you can see what a normal human can see when standing 40 feet from the chart.

Legally Blind:

In North America and most of Europe, legal blindness is defined as visual acuity (vision) of 20/200 (6/60) or less in the better eye with best correction possible. This means that a legally blind individual would have to stand 20 feet (6 m) from an object to see it with the same degree of clarity as a normally sighted person could from 200 feet (60 m).

Statistics: Vision Impairment






Latest Visual Aid Products and Information Publications

  1. BrailleSense Polaris - Virtual Braille Tablet for the Blind
    The new BrailleSense Polaris for the blind integrates a touch-sensitive Braille display with Miracast connectivity to the mainstream computer or tablet of your choice.
  2. GuideSense Device Helps Visually Impaired Sense Their Environment
    Wearable assistive device for the visually impaired enables them to sense their environment and move around more safely.
  3. Aira Visual Interpreter for the Blind and Visually Impaired
    Aira visual interpreter for visually impaired brings greater mobility, independence and self confidence to blind.
  4. Smart Cane Concept Could Assist Blind and Visually Impaired
    Researcher from University of Manchester has developed prototype tool that could help transform lives of the blind and visually impaired.
  5. Wearable Artificial Vision Device May Help Legally Blind to Read
    Artificial vision device may help people who are legally blind read, recognize faces, and accomplish everyday tasks with greater ease than traditional assistive reading devices.

Full List of Visual Aid Products and Information Documents (71 Items)




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