Technology for Sight Loss

If you have little or no vision, you may find it difficult or impossible to do things that so many people now take for granted. These include using the internet, booking flights, reading printed items such as books, magazines, newspapers or even mail that comes through the door. Technology can help though. If the right technology is used, you will enjoy the same freedom to read as everyone else.

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Service User Aine Sullivan holding a smart device in front of the myNCBI logo

myNCBI Smart Hub is a voice assistant AI based skill that’s available on Alexa-enabled devices and Google Home. It allows voice service users and their families access to the latest information on sight loss and a full suite of features.

To start simply ask: ‘Alexa launch myNCBI’ to open the Skill, and then use a range of additional commands such as “Alexa, tell me about the symptoms of Nystagmus” or “Alexa, play a podcast”. From accessing information on NCBI support services, sight loss conditions, NCBI Labs technology services and advocacy to the NCBI podcast and library access to hear the latest articles from national newspapers and magazines.

It also allows users to request a referral or a call back from an NCBI staff member.

Smart Hub Blog

Mac & PC screens

Windows and Mac configurations

An NCBI Technology trainer can help you configure your Windows or Mac device to make it more compatible with your vision needs. By enlarging text, making changes to resolution, and adjusting screen colour and contrast, the usability and usefulness of your device can be enhanced. We can also help you learn to use native zoom software and native screen reader on your device, and shortcuts to help you navigate more easily.

Apple iOS & Google Android phones

Apple iOS and Google Android

Mobile phones and tablets have revolutionised the way in which people who are blind or visually impaired interact with and use technology. All smart phones and tablets come with a host of accessibility features that can be turned on. These features greatly improve the usability of your device by enlarging text, changing resolutions, colour contrasts and the use of screen readers. VoiceOver is a screen reader built into the iOS platform that provides vision-impaired and blind users with a gesture-based way to have their Apple device speak to them what is written on their screen. TalkBack, which comes pre-installed on Android phones and tablets, also helps blind and vision-impaired users interact with their devices. When enabled, TalkBack adds spoken, audible, and vibration feedback to the user.

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Handheld Digital Magnifiers

Handheld digital magnifiers are a great option for people who need magnification on the go. The advantage of handheld magnifiers is that they are lightweight, portable, and usually small enough to fit into any pocket or purse. They come with a range of magnification and colour contrast settings and often feature a retractable handle for holding the device over the text or images being viewed.

For Advice on Digital Magnifiers call us nationwide on 1800 911 110

Alternatively contact NCBI Labs through our Support Page
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Screen Magnification

Even if you have low vision, you may still be able to use the computer screen with the help of screen magnification software. This software enables the computer to enlarge the text on its screen so that a person with low vision can see it comfortably. It can also change the colours used and the amount of the screen that is enlarged at any one time.

Some screen magnification software gives the option of having the text on the screen spoken to you by the computer, as well as being magnified. This can be very useful if you want to do a lot of computer work but find that you can get eyestrain after a while.

The Ease of Access Centre in Windows also offers many accessibility features for people with low vision, including the built-in Windows Magnifier.

For advice or a quote on Screen Magnification Software call us nationwide on 1800 911 110

Alternatively contact NCBI Labs through our Support Page
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Screen Reader

A screen reader is a piece of software that enables a person with limited or no sight to use all the functions of a computer, making it possible for them to read and write documents, use the internet and send email, using only a keyboard and without needing to look at a computer screen. The screen reader uses synthetic speech to speak all the information that would appear on the screen. It is able to describe everything on the screen, including all the commands and buttons that you can use.

There is a screen reader built into many touch screen devices too. On Apple devices including the iPhone and iPad there is a fully functional screen reader called VoiceOver, while on Android devices including mobile phones and tablet devices there is a screen reader called TalkBack.

For advice or a quote on Screen reader Software call us nationwide on 1800 911 110

Alternatively contact NCBI Labs through our Support Page
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A closed circuit television, or CCTV, is a device that magnifies things so they are easier to see. It has a built–in camera, which takes a picture of a printed page and shows it enlarged on a screen. There are many different types of CCTV and they come in different sizes depending on the tasks for which they will be used. Portable models help in situations where you need to move around a lot. They have their own screen. Some models can display the picture on your TV screen and allow you to change the colours of the text and background to whatever is easiest for you.

For Advice or a quote on CCTVs call us nationwide on 1800 911 110

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Scanners & OCR

A scanner is similar to a photocopier, but as well as taking a picture of a page it can read the text. Some scanners can speak the text out loud so they can read the daily newspaper to you, or your favourite magazine. All you have to do is place a page on the scanner and press a button.

With the huge growth in the use of mobile phones and tablets, many people are now using apps that let your phone’s camera act as a scanner. You simply hold your phone over the page to be read and the phone takes a picture and translates that picture into spoken or large text.

These scanners and apps utilise a technology known as OCR, Optical Character Recognition.

For Advice or a quote on Scanners and OCR Technology call us nationwide on 1800 911 110

Alternatively contact NCBI Labs through our Support Page
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Refreshable Braille

If you would rather read in Braille than have the text spoken to you, a Refreshable Braille display may be what you need. This is like a miniature screen sitting in front of the keyboard, capable of displaying a line of Braille by raising and lowering small plastic pins. You can easily move your hands between the keyboard and the display and read the text which is displayed a line at a time.

Refreshable Braille displays come in several sizes, depending on the amount of information that you need to see at any one time. They can also be used to connect to mobile devices for on-the-move work and are frequently used in education and employment. Many computer users who are blind or vision impaired use a Refreshable Braille display in conjunction with speech output.

For Advice or a quote on Braille Technology call us nationwide on 1800 911 110

Alternatively contact NCBI Labs through our Support Page
Apply for Braille Technology

To Purchase Scanners please visit our Online Store
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