Perkin’s E-Learning – Choosing the Appropriate Video Magnifier

Video magnifiers

Image from Perkin’s e-Learning

In the school system, selection of video magnifiers are typically reserved to the Teachers of the Visually Impaired. Their expertise on the needs of the student,  core curriculum and expanded core curriculum tasks make them best suited to select the AT that support students.

In the community, employment and post secondary education, assistive technology specialists and occupational therapists might be involved in selection of technology to support individuals with visual impairment. Staying abreast of assistive technology can be a challenge with all the options available. One, of many online resources, is Perkin’s School for the Blind e-Learning, offering courses and blog posts of current assistive technology options for students with low vision and blindness.

The January Paths to Technology Blog shares helpful information in their post ” Choosing the Appropriate Video Magnifier“. Their blog post discusses different types of video magnifiers categorized by features and tasks. Also included in the blog post, is a list of Common Video Magnifier Model which synthesizes basic features and the purpose of each device to assist with identifying appropriate devices. As an ATP and recent CATIS, I find such feature match lists invaluable, offering assistance with winnowing down choices when making decisions between AT devices.

If you service students with low vision or blindness or need information about technology for students or individuals with visual impairment, be sure to check out Perkin’s e-Learning resources. Even if you are not choosing the AT for your students with visual impairment, there are wonderful resources in their online resources.

H/T to Perkin’s e-Learning for their great, free resources.

More for your OT eTool Kit!

Carol from OT’s with Apps

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Low Vision/ Blindness, Visual Impairment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

End-of-Year Maintenance: 19 Steps To A Speedier Computer — Ask a Tech Teacher

Great maintenance tips for the end of the year! Add to you end of the year resolutions!

This week, I’m sharing three holiday activities that will get your computers, technology, and social media ready for the new year. Here’s what you’ll get: Update Your Online Presence Backup and Image your computer 19 Ways to Speed Up Your Computer A note: The links won’t work until the articles publish! Today: 19 Steps to a Speedier…

via End-of-Year Maintenance: 19 Steps To A Speedier Computer — Ask a Tech Teacher

Thank you Jacqui, for your maintenance reminders! It will help with a happier New Year!


Posted in Computer Utilities, Maintenance | Tagged | Leave a comment

Don’t Forget to Back Up!! How to Back Up Apps and Files (and a Little about a Flash Drive for iPad) — Tech it Issie

Tech it Issie provides great “How to” instructions for backing up apps and files on your iPad. Read on for their helpful instructions…

Many people have come to us with questions following accidental erasure of communication boards from their iPad and we felt that it was important to write a post explaining how to back up iPad content. This information is relevant and useful to any iPad user. Backing up content on the iPad is essential for people…

via Don’t Forget to Back Up!! How to Back Up Apps and Files (and a Little about a Flash Drive for iPad) — Tech it Issie

H/T to Tech it Issie for their excellent instructions and reminder to back up!


Posted in iOS, iPad, iPad Management, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seeing AI App – Update Offers New Recognition Tools

Seeing AI icon

Seeing AI App

The Seeing AI iOS app (free) developed by Microsoft brought a variety of object recognition tools to mobile devices. The first version offered text and object recognition via text to speech. Although not perfect, the Seeing AI app provides remarkable accuracy for general object recognition (use for medical purposes or for tasks reliant on personal safety is not recommended). Recent updates in Seeing AI version 2.0.1 now includes the following additional object recognition tools:

  • Currency (US, Canadian, British Pounds, Euros).
  • Light – Detections of how much light is in the environment
  • Color Recognition
  • Handwriting – Recognizing handwritten text

Other features in the recent 2.0.1 update include:

  • Documents are read aloud with highlighting without use of VoiceOver (VO)
  • Tools selected are spoke aloud
  • Adjust voice type and rate without use of VO
  • Allows choice of what tools are assigned 3D touch recognition
  • Recognizes images in other apps using “recognize images” in mail, Twitter, photos

The changes not only provide additional tools for object recognition but provide instant access to text without turn VO on. Although VO is an extremely helpful tool, managing its verbosity and turning it on and off can be difficult for some individuals.

The Seeing AI iOS app 2.0.1 current features list now includes:

  • Short text – reads short text as soon as it is in front of the camera
  • Document – Provides audio guidance to capture a document and read the text
  • Scans barcodes – Read contents aloud using bar codes (name and product information)
  • People – Scans peoples faces, gives then an estimate of gender, age and emotion
  • Scene- Provides an overview of the scene captured
  • Currency – Identifies currency note
  • Color – Identifies color
  • Handwriting – Recognizes handwriting like in greeting cards
  • Light – Detects the amount of light in the environment. Provides audible tone relative to the amount of light
  • Images in other apps – Tap “Share” and Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter and more

Seeing AI pic1Seeing AI pic2

Seeing AI app has been upgraded multiple times in the past months with remarkable new, promising features for individuals with visual, learning or cognitive disabilities. Providing instant text, object recognition and product information is a boon for not only individuals with visual impairment, but also those clients with a significant reading disability or a cognitive disability who just can not crack the code of reading. print For individuals such as some students with autism or those with visual impairment, facial recognition may help them navigate social situations.  It is exciting to see the outcomes of these new development projects offered in ubiquitous apps (much less free) that have direct application to improving functional capabilities of  individuals with disabilities!

If you haven’t checked it out, here is a link to more information about each of the features: . This app is only available for iOS (iPhone/iPad).

So many tools are getting smarter and more functional – offering you more for your OT eToolkit!


Posted in Accessibility, Activities of Daily Living, App Reviews, Apps for OT's, Apps for Special Needs, Artificial Intelligence, Assistive Technology, Dyslexia, iOS, iPad, Object Recognition | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SafeTracks GPS – Personal GPS Tracking Devices — The Assistive Technology Daily


TRiLOC GPS Monitoring Safetracks offers a reliable GPS Personal Monitoring Device which is ideal for communicating and locating those with living with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Autism, those suffering from PTSD, Lone Workers and other high-risk applications. Key Features: SOS button Fall detection Up to 1-minute location updates PING for updated location 2G/3G/4G connection variable reporting…

via SafeTracks GPS – Personal GPS Tracking Devices — The Assistive Technology Daily

H/T to The Assistive Technology Daily (what an awesome AT resource!!)


Posted in Assistive Technology, Cognitive Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Special Needs, Wayfinding/GPS monitoring, Wearable technology | Leave a comment

CDC Milestone Tracker App and Developmental Milestone Resources for Parents

Milestone Tracker App

Milestone Tracker App

The Center for Disease Control collects and provides statistic on many health and medical conditions. Over the past year or more, professional information I have read consistently cited an increase in the incidence of developmental disabilities. In a recent CDC data brief dated November 2017 ,  statistics again reflect an increase in the incidence of developmental delay from 5.76 to 6.99 percent in children ages 3 to 17 years of age. While I find this alarming, our expanding (exploding!) caseload of students qualifying for OT school based services seem to reflect this increase.

Positive steps taken by the CDC involve providing information on developmental milestones to parents of young children, ages 0-5 years. Their campaign, called Learn the Signs. Act Early. provides information on developmental milestones for 0-5 year olds included an app, Milestone Tracker app, and numerous other resources to help parents identify developmental milestones and what to do if concerns arise.

The CDC Milestone Tracker app , available for iOS and Android devices for free provides milestone checklists, ability to track multiple users/children, photos and videos on development, tips and activities related to milestones and ability to track appointments and schedules for children. The CDC also provides a wide range of other free developmental resources for parents, including developmental charts, videos, activity suggestions and other tools to support educating parents on childhood developments.

While you may have your own OT resources for parents, the Milestone Tracker app and other CDC developmental resources may be supplemental information for parents of your 0-5 year old clients. I encourage you to check out and pass on these resources in an effort to intervene in the growing incidence of developmental delay.

Are you familiar or trial the app? What has been your experience with the app?

More for your OT mTool Kit!

Carol from OT’s with Apps


Zablotsky B, Black LI, Blumberg SJ. Estimated prevalence of children with diagnosed developmental disabilities in the United States, 2014–2016. NCHS Data Brief, no 291. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017


Posted in Android, Apps for OT's, Apps for PT's, Developmental Delay, Early Childhood, Education, iOS, Pediatrics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OrCam My Reader and My Eyes for Text, Facial and Product Recognition


OrCam My Eyes


Advances in optical character recognition (OCR),  object recognition, artificial intelligence and computer vision has resulted in remarkable, new products to aid individuals with visual impairments. One such new device, the OrCam, provides a variety of features allowing OCR and recognition of print and environmental text, product recognition, money recognition as well as facial recognition. Once recognition is completed, the processor speaks the information aloud using its small speaker located in the device which attaches to the temple of a glasses frame. It’s ease of use, fast processing and accuracy makes this device a functional, electronic scanning/recognition device for many tasks and environments.

The OrCam is a small camera that mounts to the frame of glasses. Hardwired connection to a handheld processor, the camera is able to read text at a distance or close using gestures or with operation of a few buttons on the handheld processor.

OrCam camera and processor

OrCam My Eyes functions, as described on OrCam’s website include:

Orcam product features

The OrCam comes in two versions, a basic OrCam My Reader that performs OCR and OrCam My Eyes offering OCR with other recognition capabilities (money, products, time, facial recognition).

Trial using the OrCam found good accuracy with reading textbook information, reading environmental print in signs and posters good (with exception of some word art) with good ability to recognize products. As indicated in its features, it requires connection to the small handheld processor but no Internet connection, allowing its use virtually anywhere. The battery is stated to last a day and offers a sleep mode when not in use to conserve battery level. Voice quality is also good, with clear speech and easy to access volume control. Discussion with an OrCam certified trainer indicated that it also works well with clients who have hearing aids.

Here is a YouTube video from the Blind Life with an overview of the OrCam device with MyEyes:

Reviews and trial using the OrCam finds it is a remarkable device offering recognition of text, products, faces and environmental text. It continues to be updated for additional features and improvements with its operation. Trial found it fast, accurate and easy to use following training and application of gestures and understanding the features available. Although created for individuals with vision loss, this might also be a solution for some individuals with dyslexia or other significant reading challenges but good motor and problem solving abilities.

Where can you get the OrCam or a demo? In the Midwest, contact Adaptive Technology Resources , Grafton, WI (ATR; ph.: 800-770-8474), a supplier of the device with certified OrCam trainers. You can also respond or contact me through this blog for more information on the OrCam.

More for your OT or AT eTool Kit!

Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, OTR/L, ATP, CATIS
OT’s with Apps and Technology

Posted in Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Learning Disability, Life Skills, Low Vision/ Blindness, Occupational Therapy, Reading, Text to Speech, Visual Impairment, Wearable technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment