Handheld video magnifiers come in a variety sizes from 5-6 inch pocket size to larger magnifiers with 10–12-inch screen. This offers users devices for spot magnification using a portable device to devices that can present more enlarged print with the larger 10-12 inch screens. An additional feature being offered in the past year or two is text to speech capabilities along with magnification on a dedicated device.
A recent client evaluated for her AT needs with low vision and a reading disability required support to complete continuing education, however also required on the spot access to print enlarged and decoding support on the job and away from a computer. While iPad or iPhones can be an option, the client’s work situation did not allow use of standard electronics such as smartphones or tablets. While computer based assistive software was identified to support continuing education needs, magnification for spot magnification was also explored for vocational tasks.
Handheld portable video magnifiers 5” and larger were trialed with the client with a preference for a 5-6 inch device for ease of portability. While familiar with a variety of handheld video magnifiers, those with text to speech features have not been a need, nor trialed. A search for handheld pocket-sized video magnifiers resulted in a number offering text to speech and a variety of features such as touch screens, those with tactile buttons and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to support text to speech capabilities among a variety of other tools. A visit to a low vision specialty center to trial handheld magnifiers with speech capabilities helped identify features that would support the client’s skills and needs.
The Optelec Compact 6 HD Video Magnifier with Speech has been available for a year or two. This device was selected offering features of a handheld video magnifier, integrated stand for near vision magnification, in addition to excellent clarity, a touch screen and ease of processing captured print for text to speech output. The controls of the Optelec were visually large for the client to view with easy touch screen navigation, setting customization quickly navigated by the client with smartphone experience.
The Optelec Compact 6 has two cameras, one for Magnification when reading hard copy text and a second Overview camera for capturing images, processing with OCR for text to speech capabilities. The modes were easy to visually access for individuals with mild to moderate low vision and operate following instruction. Images captured using the Magnification mode and Overview mode can be processed and read, however to read a large amount of print or whole page, the Overview mode capturing a whole page for processing and reading is required. The Optelec Compact has many other features, as connecting to a computer or external monitor for enlargement, saving images and OCR documents, settings for customizing contrast, a screen tracking line, speech rate among others.
The following short video provides a quick look at the Optelec Compact 6 HD Video Magnifier:
- Point the camera, capture the text, and listen as the text is read aloud
- View and magnify text, objects and photos
- Small and pocket-sized design
- More words on-screen for maximum overview
- Easy to hold thanks to the ergonomically designed side grips
- Instant on and ready to use within 1 second
- Customizable button bars
- Clock function
- Designed to move smoothly over reading materials
- Large 6-inch high brightness touch screen
- Continuous zoom: <0.5 to >21 times magnification
- 2 High Definition auto-focus cameras for reading and viewing objects and photographs
- High contrast semi-colors for easier reading
(set up to 4 combinations from a possible choice of 16)
- Reversible USB C connector for charging
- Rechargeable battery offering an average of 3 hours continuous use
- Dimensions: 183 x 95 x 14 mm / 7.2 x 3.7 x 0.55 in
- Weight Compact 6 HD 270 grams / 9.5 ounces
- Weight Reading Stand 110 grams / 3.0 ounces
- 2-year standard warranty
The client easily navigated the Optelec Compact 6 HD with Speech after initial training, customization and application of the features of the device to access print with magnification and text to speech. Sleep modes were also customized for her use to maintain battery life during her workday. Other features such as connecting it to HDMI, use of Miracast to connect to smart TV’s and saving images and scanned documents are also features of this Optelec Compact Magnifier. I found the device easy to use with good instructions available in the manual and quick instruction handouts.
The Optelec Compact 6 HD Video Magnifier with Speech is a portable and easy-to-use dedicated video magnifier with text-to-speech capabilities. With its touch screen, it is especially easy for individuals with some available vision and experience with touch screen devices to navigate and use. It is available for purchase from Amazon.com * or from Optelec vendors. More information on the Optelec Compact 6 HD with speech can be found at the Optelec Website.
More for your OT or AT eToolkit!
Carol from OT’s with Apps and Technology.
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