Devices that Empower: Celebrating Assistive Technology

March 27, 2019

To highlight the role of technology in empowering individuals with disabilities, the United States Congress recently voted to designate March 27, 2019 as Assistive Technology Awareness Day.

A person uses a magnifying device to read text on a piece of paper
There is a wide variety of assistive technology devices available to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Assistive technology is the name given to tools and devices which have been designed or adapted for use by people with disabilities. These tools and devices can allow people to carry out their day-to-day tasks that their disability is making difficult. In terms of vision loss this often means things such as reading, writing, watching television, driving, using their computer and so on.

Assistive technology doesn’t have to be high-tech. There are a number of simple tools which can be useful every day, for example portable LED lamps. Large print calendars, talking blood glucose monitors, high-contrast cutting boards – the list goes on and on! That being said, the high-tech assistive technologies are some of the most exciting, and here are some of the favorites of Luke Scriven, Assistive Technology Manager at The Chicago Lighthouse:

The Humanware Explore 5 device is shown magnifying text on a piece of paper.

Humanware Explore 5 ($595): The Humanware Explore 5 is one of the best handheld electronic magnifiers out there. Featuring an HD camera, ergonomic stand, 5” screen and (one of my favorite features) a foldable handle, the Explore 5 is the perfect magnifier for when you need to read on the go. With magnification from 2x to 22x and a number of color modes, the Explore 5 is a very versatile device.

An individual wears the NuEyes e2 wearable electronic glasses

NuEyes e2 ($2,795): The second model from NuEyes, the e2 wearable electronic glasses feature a lightweight redesign with a large field of view and magnification up to 18x. These electronic glasses are great for people with central vision loss and work especially well for distance tasks such as watching television, seeing people’s faces, going to plays, concerts and shows and pretty much anything you can think of!

Luke Scriven assists with OrCam MyEye 2.0

Orcam MyEye 2.0 ($4,500): This device is packed with cool features inside a small and discreet device. Designed to connect to the side of eyeglasses, Orcam MyEye 2.0 has the ability to read printed text out loud, identify people, identify products, identify money, identify colors and tell the time! Even better, if you want to read you can just point where you want to start and the Orcam intelligently does the rest.
Attendees at one of our road shows try out a variety of devices.

Attendees at one of our road shows try out a variety of devices.
Our Low Vision Product Roadshows offer the opportunity
to try a variety of assistive technology devices.

There are many ways to learn more about assistive tecnology from The Chicago Lighthouse. Check out our Tools for Living Sore website to browse our available items. You may also visit us at our Tools for Living Store in person at 1850 W. Roosevelt in Chicago as well as our Sandy Forsythe Assisitve Technology Center. If you can’t make it out to us, we also bring our products and expert staff to many communities around Chicago! You are welcome to come out Low Vision Product Roadshows, where we bring daily living aids and assistive technologies out to the suburbs. Come between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to see what’s available, and work with our specialists to find out what tools can help you! For the current schedule of shows, click here.

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