Low vision @ Skyaid.org

Low Vision   2006, updated May 2008

We are able to accommodate my father in-law's macular degeneration

VISUAL DISPLAY 

Our way of solving his vision problem was centered around LT26HVE LCD : Olevia Syntax -
      The Syntax was highly rated on the internet in 2006.
      It provides constant image and audio enhancement
           - it is like having Photoshop improve the contrast of every single image

$800 LCD display  26" - which is almost, but not quite, High Definition. 
The Syntax comes in many different sizes (26" Dec 06  $630, May 08 $400 re-manufactured)

The display has a 6+ inputs. An acceptable (for low vision) infrared remote controller selects between
   Computer
   Video magnifier
   TV
   DVD 
 

COMPUTER

The 15 + Windows and Internet Explorer options are now all set for very large
      Windows: With cursor on Desktop,
              right click, select properties,
           then select appearance, and be sure to select advanced
         Control Panel - mouse - Pointer Options: display pointer trail
      Internet Explorer:
            Select tools, Internet Options, then adjust fonts

We have added a computer program to read text (text to speech conversion). 
    (The text-to-voice windows reader is unacceptable)
    There are a great number of programs available for text to voice
    - we selected www.naturalreaders.com (which has a demo)
        The free version of the program unfortunately has a poor voice, 
        The $49 version of the program has fairly good voices - each voice take 500MB+ to download

VIDEO Magnifier

The video camera cost $100 - and has zoom and is able to focus just see just a 2"x2" square
     The effective video magnification is about 9X - which allows viewing very small type in newspapers, checks, etc

We had to rig-up a mount to allow camera to aim vertically downward.
Fortunately the camera had a camera screw mount.
We just cut and bent a piece of metal to mount the camera.

This model of Syntax display has speakers
- but the headphone jack is on the rear of the display, where an elderly person can not access it,
  unfortunately there is no headphone/speaker selection switch - it is controlled by the headphone jack so we ignore the speakers and have headphone on all of the time.

We put a little board under the front of the Syntax to tilt the display backward so that it can be used up-close. The display can sit on the table, but can not, by itself tilt. 

Nice book which we found later:
     Coping with Low Vision - 1993 by Marshal Flax, Used $6.45

Update  May 2008

Magnify a portion of computer display

Zoommy adds a nice magnification feature to any Windows computer. Easy to use, with lots of options - we have it set to show an area around the cursor with 2X magnification in the lower right of the screen. We just use F3 to turn it on, F3 again to turn it off. Free 2 week trial. Zoommy costs about $20 to purchase.

FireFox appears to be even better for low-vision than Internet Explorer
    example: cntrl+ increases size of text. 
    A FireFox add-on increases the size of images

Slower Speaking & Slower Video:

Found a low-cost DVD player on the internet which allows playing video and associate audio at 20% and 40% slower without changing the pitch.  Works great after we learned the remote control button sequence needed.  The manual is not very clear on how to do it.  JVC DVD player cost about $60 on the e-bay in 2007  JVC Models include: XV-N330B, XVN420B, XVN-332.  The JVC now allows him to enjoy a subscription to NetFlix movies.

2xAV also provides slower audio and video - it is a $30 add-on to Windows Media Player/Real Player.  It is not as easy to use as the JVC player, but is very nice for audio-only - such as Books On Tape. Can change to any speed from 1/3 to 2X real time.  Ken uses 20% and 30% slowup.

These slowup features are also useful for person not used to a language, learning a language

June 2008 Considering buying a reconditioned DVD recorder (Emerson EWR10D4) which will allow one-touch-recording of TV programs to a DVD which can then be played back 20% or 40% more slowly on the JVC DVD player

HEARING

Wireless headphones have been great.  (approximately $10 on e-bay) They eliminate reverberation when we connect them to a public address system.  They are also great for listening to the computer/DVD etc without disturbing others.  We also had a good experience with buying hearing aids in 2008

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