Event review: Sight Village Scotland 2011

April’s Sight Village events in Edinburgh and Glasgow saw a number of key suppliers and service providers come together to create informative days for anyone with an interest in technology and support for people who are blind or have a visual impairment.

Exhibitors included: Calibre Audio Library; Concept Northern; Dolphin Computer Access; ForceTen; Guide Dogs; Humanware; Optelec; RNIB; Sight and Sound Technology and Zychem.

It was reassuring to note that some reliable products have not seen major changes. For instance, Humanware’s MyReader2 digital magnifier-reader and Zychem’s tactile diagram kit, both items that are popular with users of BRITE’s Equipment Loan Bank, have not changed.

A couple of new developments on show at the exhibition worth noting included the Transformer portable digital magnifier and the Eye Pal SOLO scanner and reader, further details of which follow below.

Transformer: a portable magnifier in disguise!

Children of the 80s, or those who’ve seen the revived alien-robots-disguised-as-cars franchise, won’t forget the Transformer! While its functionality is very similar to that of another Enhanced Vision product, the Acrobat, it differs in that it folds down to a very compact and transportable size.

Like the Acrobat, it connects to a laptop via USB, is compatible with Dolphin magnification software and allows for a number of different viewing modes. However in contrast it boasts a sleek foldaway design and is very lightweight.

If you have experienced the Acrobat‘s high quality distance and close-up magnification via the BRITE Equipment Loan bank (or read about it in the Magnification on the Move resource) but you require greater portability, this is worth a look.

Priced at £1595 the Transformer is available from Concept Northern, whom you may contact for a demonstration. Additionally, click here to watch a promotional video about the Transformer.

Eye Pal SOLO: all you need to read

Another interesting new product is Humanware’s Eye-Pal SOLO, an easy-to-use standalone scanning and text-to-audio device with added functionality for those who wish it.

Ready to use right out of the box, Eye-Pal SOLO is self-contained motion activated reading device that instantly reads from any book or printed material. As it requires no computer skills, it would be useful for a library setting where people just want to hear text read aloud (there is a socket for headphones!).

While its strength is in its simplicity and standalone nature, the Eye Pal SOLO can also be connected to a monitor to view magnified text highlighted as it is read aloud. The custom keypad allows saving and restoring pages, reading by word or by sentence, changing voices and customizing how text looks on the monitor. The kit is also compatible with the VictorReader Digital Talking Book player – save scanned documents on the Victor to access later.

The Eye Pal SOLO retails for around £1595. For more information and a product demonstration in Scotland, contact Lucy Naismith of Humanware at lucy.naismith@humanware.com or call Mobile: 07985 749 438/Tel: 01933 415 800.

Want to find out more about technology for students with a visual impairment?

Let us know if you would like BRITE to facilitate a training or product demonstration day, we can even deliver events in your own institution! Contact us with your suggestions.

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