Portable Digital Magnifier

The Need For DIGITAL MAGNIFIERS

Reading is recognized as the common goal for many persons with low vision. In the case of the school-going child, reading is a primary form of education whereas for an elderly the reading can be a leisure activity or a necessity as in case of managing one’s own finances. 

Most of the education system involves printed materials which poses a major problem for the visually impaired. This problem becomes a barrier to education, employment, and social activities, etc. Basic assistive devices can enhance residual vision only to some extent. Electronic magnification systems help with magnifying the printed material to many folds which is not possible with optical systems. These can be used to read already existing printed material without modifications like large print books, audio transcriptions, digital books, etc. 

About DIGITAL MAGNIFIERS

Technology has always been helpful to the visually impaired (VI) community. New electronic devices and computerized technology have proved to be important tools or assistive aids for the visually impaired. To enumerate, a few forms are  digital magnifiers, screen reader software, refreshable Braille displays, built accessibility features of smartphones/computers, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) features, smartphone applications, and wearable headgear with visual augmentation apps. Out of all these, incorporating technology and advancements in a cost-effective solution like digital magnifier makes it an important assistive device.  Digital magnifiers try to enhance the residual usable near vision of the low vision category of visual impairment. 

The advantages of digital magnifiers are that in addition to magnification settings, the settings to change contrast, brightness adjustments, and availability of desktop and portable options. The idea of portability is welcomed by the visually impaired to read any material for example shopping tags, extended reading activities like school work, etc. They come in different display sizes of the screen, the more the size of the screen the better the area seen through it, and the number of words displayed is more. 

The Vision-Aid – Orbit VisOR Digital Magnifiers

The Vision-Aid – Orbit VisOR products are a family of handheld digital magnifiers that are perfect for anyone with limited vision. They are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry around and use whenever and wherever you need them.

The VisOR family features models with 3.5-inch, 4.3-inch, and 5-inch high-definition LCD screens, with a magnification range of 4x-32x for the larger models and 2x-25x for the 3.5-inch model. The magnifiers offer exceptional picture quality with a clear high-resolution image and a high frame-rate for fast response time, which is great for accurate hand-eye coordination. You can also connect it to a TV or monitor for a larger viewing experience.

For students, the VisOR magnifiers are a convenient tool to help them read in the classroom or at home to assist with their schoolwork. For adults, the magnifiers provide access to professional and leisure reading. Fold the retractable handle in to read books and documents or fold it out to use as an electronic magnifying glass.

The magnifiers are extremely durable and compact, and their handheld design makes them very portable and easy to travel with. Weighing between 145 and 226 grams, the magnifiers are only a little bigger than a smartphone, allowing them to fit comfortably in a purse or handbag. Although they are small, they have a fast-charging, long-life battery that allows for continuous use for over 3-4 hours and is user-replaceable.

The VisOR family offers between 8 and 16 different high-contrast color modes for the display screen (depending upon the model). You can choose from color selections such as full color, black on white, white on black, and many others.

These handheld magnifiers are extremely user-friendly products, designed for efficiency and simplicity. Zoom in or out by simply pressing the magnification button and take photographs by pressing the camera button, and view all photographs by pressing the playback button. Adjust screen brightness and turn the audio confirmation tone on and off with simple key combinations.

The magnifiers can use a micro-SD card to store photos automatically and connect to a computer via USB to download and view pictures. Additionally, they come with helpful features such as automatic shutdown and a memory which preserves your contrast and brightness settings. They also offer a flashlight feature for added convenience.

All VisOR models are available in either a black or white body and come with accessories such as a USB cable for charging, a cable for connecting to a TV, cleaning fabric, a protective pouch for storage, a strap, and a user manual.

The VisOR  family of magnifiers provides a great product for anyone who needs a reliable magnifier to read text and view close-up images in detail. They are lightweight and compact, and their range of features make them a great value. The portable and user-friendly design makes them easy to use and store, while the fast-charging battery ensures you don’t have to worry about running out of power.

Whether you are a student in the classroom or an adult reading for leisure at home, the VisOR magnifiers can help you get the most out of your reading experience.

Features

Feature list for the VisOR Handheld Electronic Magnifier Family

  • Lightweight and compact handheld design
  • High-Definition LCD screen
  • 4x-32x magnification range (2x-25x on 3.5 inch model)
  • 8 to 16 high-contrast color enhancing modes
  • Exceptional picture quality
  • Clear high resolution image
  • High frame rate for fast response time and accurate hand-eye coordination
  • Connects to TV for larger viewing
  • Continuous use for 4 hours
  • Foldable handle
  • Fold in to read books and documents
  • Fold out to use as an electronic magnifying glass
  • Micro SD card automatically stores photos
  • Connect to a computer via USB to download and view pictures
  • User settings are memorized
  • LCD screen brightness is adjustable
  • Flashlight feature
  • Audio confirmation tones for button presses
  • Automatic shutdown
  • Fast-charging, user-replaceable high-capacity battery
  • Dimensions/Weight
  • 226 grams, 54 x 86 x 30 cm
  • 8 oz, 15.4 x 8.6 x 3 inch
  • Available in a black or white body
  • Accessories
  • USB Charger
  • USB cable for charging
  • Cable for TV connection
  • Strap
  • Cleaning fabric
  • Protective pouch
  • User manual
  • Brightness and contrast remain as you left them

Impact of DM So far:

So far 230 digital magnifiers have been distributed to the needy candidates. All of these digital magnifiers were dispensed after comprehensive low vision evalaution conducted at Vision-Aid resource centres located at well known tertiary eye care centres of India.

  1. Aravind Eye Hospital
  2. Sankara Nethralaya
  3. Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye hospital
  4. LV Prasad Eye Institute
  5. Voluntary Health Services
  6. Community Eye Care Foundation

Vision-Aid’s DM program & its successes

While there are hundreds of success stories, here are two highlighted ones which shows the impact of digital magnifier program.

A 23-year-old male based in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu was evaluated at the Vision-Aid resource centre in August 2018, he was referred by Neurology department. He presented with history of Neurofibroma type II, a form of recurrent tumor of the nervous system. He had been operated for brain tumor at young age. He studied in normal school till 10th class and scored 70 percentage in the 10th board exams. After the exams he underwent a surgery to remove a tumor in the leg and developed a locomotor disability even after removal of the tumor. Due to his eye and physical condition, he discontinued his studies and his parents were looking for a vocational training for him.

On a comprehensive low vision evaluation, his left eye is found to have complete blindness and his right eye with profound visual impairment with significant loss of field of vision. He had received a 75 percent visual disability. He underwent a series of evaluation with low vision devices like spectacle magnifiers but uneventful in improving his near vision.

He has Disability Certificate for orthopedic condition. He avails the government concessions for the disabilities. As he was interested to learn a vocation training, he was referred to NAB, Madhavaram and to avail bank loan.

On telephonic follow up, he could not take up the vocational training due to the locomotor disability. The boy and his parents were very much disheartened.

During a follow up visit, the patient was counselled to pursue the school education by way of distance education and to continue via distance education options. A follow up evaluation was done and the Portable digital magnifier (3.5 inch) improved his vision to read even small prints equivalent to newspaper print. The boy gained confidence to read and has started reading enthusiastically. He said he will pursue his studies. Parents were overwhelmed. This digital magnifier changed his and his parents’ perspective about his future.

A 19-year-old girl diagnosed with tuberculosis since December 2020. She was under Antitubercular treatment for the 3 weeks, developed sudden loss of vision due to Ethambutol drug

toxicity- Ethambutol toxic optic neuropathy. After 5 months of treatment and under close follow-up care of ophthalmologists, her vision became stable and referred to the Vision-Aid resource centre.

Her family background is low socio-economic condition. Her father is a painter by profession and a daily wager. Her mother is now unemployed to take care of the daughter. She is in her second year of college studying B. Com. Her main complaints are not able to view the class board in college. The college is unaware of her ocular condition. She had difficulty in continuing her studies due to her problems with reading class notes and computers.

In 2018, her vision in the right eye was profound visual loss and her left eye had moderate visual impairment with reduced near vision. Her reading was impaired and was finding it difficult to read class notes. Due to her ocular condition which involves the optic nerve of the eye, her colour vision and contrast sensitivity were impaired. She was unable to identify the numbers/ optotypes in colour vision test and contrast screening tests. Her field of vision was severely depressed in the better seeing eye.

Evaluation done with low vision devices like dome magnifiers and digital video magnifiers. She preferred using portable digital magnifier (Vision- Aid). Her reading speed greatly improved with the 6x to 8x magnification settings of 3.5-inch magnifier and she could read well with the contrast enhancement option of the digital magnifier.

Her confidence and performance had improved with the digital magnifier in the follow up visits. During the counselling session, she was given a letter to college for recommendation to allow use the low vision device, change of seating arrangements and to allow additional time for classes and examinations.Awareness was given about the computer modifications, mobile technology and availability of training programs and orientation and mobility training. Patient is really motivated to continue her studies with all the modifications.

We are looking for like-minded organizations who are interested to partner with us in this noble initiative. If you are interested, please feel free to contact us at info@visionaid.org

Those who are interested to contribute, can do so by clicking on the link below.

Your generous donations keep this program alive.

Click on the Donate button, and make a difference in the life of a visually impaired person.

Testimonial from Sankara Nethralaya - Low vision care team

The portable Digital Magnifier has several impressive features:

  1. Extensive magnification range 2x to 32x
  2. Optimal contrast with black letters on a yellow background of all the color backgrounds
  3. Automatic switch-off after 2 minutes of inactivity
  4. It’s cost-effective
  5. The improved working distance for comfortable viewing.
  6. The absence of internal storage ensures that it is permitted in competitive and board exams for visually impaired individuals. This is a significant advantage, as other video magnifiers with internal storage may have restrictions in exam settings.

ABOUT VISION-AID & THE ORBIT RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP

Vision-Aid and Orbit Research are committed to bringing this family of Digital Magnifiers to the low-vision population in India.  As a global leader in the field of Assistive Technology, with a 25-year track record of developing and manufacturing affordable breakthrough products for people with visual impairments, Orbit Research will bring its experience in engineering, procurement, logistics, technical support and service to this joint project. 

Together with Vision-Aid, Orbit Research continues to pursue their mission of developing technologies and products that provide solutions to the challenges that people with visual impairment face every day.  With reading being such an essential requirement for everyone, the Vision-Aid – Orbit family of Digital Magnifiers enables people who are visually impaired to overcome barriers in education, employment, and social activities.  

ABOUT ORBIT RESEARCH

Orbit Research develops and manufactures innovative and affordable products that enable an independent lifestyle for people who are blind or visually impaired.  Founded with the mission to fulfil the urgent need for affordable assistive technology products, the company has introduced breakthrough products like the Orion family of accessible scientific and graphing calculators, the iBill Talking Banknote Identifier, the Orbit Reader family of refreshable braille displays and the Graphiti family of interactive tactile graphic displays that define the state-of-the-art in features, functionality, convenience, and affordability. For more information, visit www.orbitresearch.com.

A Digital Accessibility Testing Testimonial | Nibin Mathews

Nibin Mathews’ journey is a testament to resilience and determination. Despite facing

significant visual impairment challenges since birth, Nibin pursued education with unwavering determination. Losing sight in one eye due to a cricket ball stroke in 6th grade and later losing vision in the other eye to glaucoma didn’t deter him. He completed his Bachelor’s in English and even secured a job with Indian Railways. Yet, his thirst for knowledge led him to pursue computer programming, which he found through Vision-Aid. With their specialized training, he mastered coding and digital accessibility testing. With their financial support, he pursued a Master’s degree. Now, as the Accessibility Lead at Bosch Global Software Technologies, he’s excelling professionally. But Nibin’s achievements don’t stop there; he’s also an international tennis champion and a skilled violinist. He attributes much of his success to Vision-Aid, acknowledging their pivotal role in his journey. His story is not just one of personal triumph but also a testament to the impact of support systems in overcoming challenges and inspiring others.

A Job Coaching for Banking and other exams Testimonial | Gautam Gulati

Meet Gautam, a remarkable individual based in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, whose life story is a testament to resilience, determination, and the transformative power of organizations like Vision-Aid India.

Gautam’s life commenced with the diagnosis of Retinist Pigmentosa. Despite experiencing a 40% loss of sight, he persevered through attending a regular school, successfully completing his education and earning a B Com degree. His world took an unexpected turn after graduation, when, he had the major sight loss. Faced with the challenges of navigating everyday activities like driving, reading, writing print, and mobility etc. Yet, rather than allowing these obstacles to define him, he chose a path of resilience and determination. Undeterred by his circumstances, Gautam turned to technology, becoming dependent on tools designed for visually impaired individuals, including screen readers. His quest for independence led him to explore new technologies with the support of various NGOs. Through his social networks, Gautam discovered Vision-Aid India, an organization dedicated to empowering the visually impaired. Recognizing the potential for growth, he enrolled in Vision-Aid’s IBPS banking crash course, specifically tailored for visually impaired individuals, in April 2022.

Determined to enhance his skills further, Gautam pursued an additional course in mobile technology. This commitment to personal and professional growth showcased his unwavering spirit and determination.

Armed with newfound knowledge, Gautam faced the Bank of India Credit Officer exam after completing the IBPS crash course. His hard work, coupled with the right guidance from Vision-Aid, resulted in success. In 2023, Gautam proudly joined Bank of India as a Credit Officer, marking a significant milestone in his journey.

Gautam attributes his success and newfound independence to Vision-Aid India. With deep gratitude, he acknowledges the organization’s role in providing IBPS coaching and shaping his path towards independence.

A Python Testimonial

Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.

Bindhu Sri

Meet Bindu, from Hyderabad. Who began her life with the gift of perfect vision? She embarked on her educational journey in a conventional school, but at the tender age of 9, her world dimmed as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) impacted her sight. Loosing major of her vision with lot of challenges she still could complete her graduate degree in 2020 and her post-graduate degree in 2022. Being interested to pursue her career in computer programming she discovered Vision-Aid India, a beacon of hope and opportunity. Enrolling in their online certification programs, Bindu successfully completed both Python and SQL languages. Armed with these newfound skills, she opened doors to her career, securing a position as a Data Engineer at RX Data Science, a renowned company.

“All of this was made possible through the invaluable support and guidance provided by Vision-Aid India” She Says.

A HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and ARIA Fundamentals for Accessible Web Development Testimonial

Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.