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Assistive Technology Manufacturers
- Apple makes a free screenreader called VoiceOver that comes with every product. Many people who are blind or vision impaired find the iPhone to be the most accessible and easiest to use smartphone on the market right now. The same is true of their iPad tablets. Apple products also include built-in zoom capabilities for people who read large print, and other accessibility functions.
- Dolphin Computer Access makes software called Dolphin Guide for people who are newly blind or who need a simplified computing experience. This software may also appeal to senior citizens who are computer novices. Dolphin also makes a screenreader and magnification suite called Supernova.
- Freedom Scientific makes Braille notetakers, reading solutions, and professional grade screenreader and magnification software that works well in a home, small business, or corporate setting. They sell portable magnifiers as well. Freedom Scientific are best known for the screenreader called JAWS and their Magic® magnification software. Both products support Microsoft Office, let you browse the web, chat on Skype, and support scripting for professional and call centre application needs.
- GW Micro is the creator of the popular Window Eyes screenreader as well as several reading appliances. They also sell GWConnect, a simplified Skype interface, and GWSocialEyes, a simplified way to access Facebook.
- HandyTech is an international supplier of Braille displays, notetakers, magnifyers, and screenreaders. They also provide training and consulting services.
- Humanware supply a number of blindness and low vision products; such as the Braillenote, Victor Reader and a range of magnification solutions.
- Hims is a company that specialises in reading devices for Daisy books, e-books, and audio books. They also offer a range of notetakers and Braille displays.
- NV Access makes a free, high quality screenreader for Windows called NVDA. It works well for personal use and can easily handle browsing the web, reading email, writing letters, and chatting with friends via Skype.
- Quantum Technology has been providing products and services to people with a print disability (low vision, blindness or a learning difficulty) for over 25 years. They are the largest supplier of adaptive technology to the education, corporate and government sectors in Australia.
- Pacific Vision International have a wide range of assistive technology products for people who are blind or vision impaired. Products include a range of hand magnifiers, CCTV magnifiers, both desktop and portable as well as OCR and Braille notetakers and Daisy readers.
- SpeedDots sell a one-of-a-kind series of tactile screen protectors for iPhones and iPads that speeds up typing and makes finding commonly used icons fast and easy. The SpeedDots protectors were designed by a developer who is blind, uses touch screens on a daily basis, and wanted to make them easier to use. These protectors improve the touch screen experience for many people who are blind around the world.
- Serotek is a company that specialises in products that are easy to use and written for home users. System Access, their flagship product, is a good fit for people who are newly blind or who are new to using a computer.
- The American Printing House For the Blind has many products for educational use including the Book Port Plus Daisy reading machine. They also produce Braille materials and textbooks.
- AppleVis is a great site for finding accessible application for iOS devices. App reviews are categorised, and each app listed is rated on its accessibility. AppleVis has a podcast about various applications as well as tons of guides and how-to articles. There is also an active forum where you can ask questions and talk with other users.
- AMIS DAISY Playback Software runs on Windows and is a software program that you can use to read Daisy books, including Bookshare books. It is self-voicing, meaning that no specialised screen-reading software is needed in order for it to be used by people who are vision impaired. AMIS is open source software and is provided free of charge.
- Doug Lee has written some excellent scripts for JAWS that make Skype, TeamTalk, and TeamSpeak work better. If you have never heard of these programs, they are free voice/text chatting software that many people who are blind use. You can get these programs as well as the necessary scripts from the following links. You can Download the Skype scripts here or download the Teamtalk scripts here. He also has new Teamspeak scripts for JAWS 14 and up as well.
- Continuum provides several fun, accessible, and very affordable programs that make life easier for a person who is blind. Each program has been written with users who are blind as its focus, and accessibility is guaranteed.
- Go Read for Android is a free, fully accessible, e-book reader for people with print disabilities. Optimised for readers who are vision impaired and usable by anyone, Go Read allows you to download and listen to Bookshare books on Android smartphones and tablets. Go Read is based on the open source FBReader project and is available for free.
- Voice Dream Reader is a versatile, high quality general purpose voice reader for the iPhone and iPad that is fully integrated with Bookshare. It can also be used to read PDF, MS Word, HTML, ePub, and text files. Files can be downloaded, copied from the clipboard, synced through Dropbox and Google Drive, or synced using iTunes file sharing. In addition to an included female American English voice, it offers 78 voices in 20 languages from NeoSpeech and Acapela as in-app purchases for $1.99 or $2.99. You can purchase Voice Dream Reader for $22.99 from the Apple App Store or try a free demo version called Voice Dream Reader Lite to see if this product meets your needs.
Support, Blogs, and Further Information
- Brian Hartgen – consultant and editor of the Infotech audio magazine and writer of Window-Eyes set files.
- David Woodbridge Technology iSee – David Woodbridge Technology Blog.
- Sadam Ahmed’s – Accessible Apps and hardware Sadam Ahmed’s – Accessible Apps and hardware that gives those living with blindness greater independence.
- The Blind Geek Zone Rick Harmon’s the Blind Geek Zone.