A video magnifier is among the most effective devices for making things easier to see. People with low vision use them everyday to read bank statements, pill bottles, recipes, and the mail.
A magnifier is a closed-circuit system (CCTV) that captures images with a camera and displays them on an attached monitor. Controls enable users to adjust image size, color, and contrast. Most models have a "table" under the camera on which users place what they wish to view. The table can slide in any direction to make it easier to scan text and images.
Following are 10 popular desktop models.
The Freedom Machine Desktop video magnifier from Vision Technology has an auto focus camera with good picture quality. Monitor sizes range from 17” to 28”. Rotary controls make magnification and color settings easy to adjust. Its steel unibody makes the machine lighter, ergonomic, and more durable. Freedom Machines use light emitting diodes (LED's) to lower energy consumption. The machine ships fully assembled. Just plug it in. Most repairs are accomplished by exchanging the camera or control panel module.
The ClearView+ High Definition (HD) system can magnify text and photos from 1X -- 72X. The ClearView provides crisp images and smooth text, even at low magnification levels. Magnification and mode buttons enable users to change settings without removing their hands from the table; repetitive arm lifting is eliminated. A “one touch” electronic table brake stops all sliding so readers never lose their place. Lighting can be adjusted to read glossy magazines more easily. The machine’s ergonomic design creates an optimal reading environment.
The Merlin Plus from Enhanced Vision can magnify images up to 85x. It has seven viewing modes to optimize contrast and brightness and 28 programmable color select options. The Merlin offers the added benefit of full computer connectivity with a split screen mode that enables users to view magnified images and the computer simultaneously. It has a moveable reading table and pivoting screen to accommodate peripheral or eccentric viewing. The Merlin ships fully assembled with Feature Kit and foot pedal control included. Enhanced Vision also makes portable video magnifiers, including the Transformer and the Pebble.
Freedom Scientific’s TOPAZ features a flat 19” LCD monitor that can enlarge images from 2.7x to 70X. Long-life LEDs illuminate the large work surface. The camera is mounted 8.5 inches above the table, providing ample room for reading, writing, or enjoying a hobby. Adjust magnification, color, and brightness with three simple dials. The Topaz also has a “Freeze Frame” button that locks zoomed images, such as a phone number, in place for hands-free magnification.
The autofocus camera in HumanWare’s SmartView Synergy SI reproduces 300% more pixels than conventional CCTVs for images that are three times clearer. The Synergy features a high-brightness, distortion-free 22'' LCD monitor. Controls enable users to switch from viewing images to reading text in 16 contrast modes. The Synergy SI also provides a wider field of vision to display document in full width. Smooth, quiet movement in any direction also makes text easier to follow. Check out HumanWare's portable DeafBlind Communicator.
Telesensory’s Aladdin Apex Pro, part of the Aladdin one-piece family, has an adjustable flat panel monitor. The Aladdin Apex Pro can connect to a computer workstation. A split-screen mode enables users to simultaneously view magnified materials and computer files. They can also toggle between images using a button or optional foot pedal. Its new cross-room viewing features enables users to position the camera for distance viewing – ideal for a classroom blackboard or corporate presentation.
The Clarity Discovery is easy to use, with a one-touch power switch and intuitive focus and controls. The Discovery projects three-dimensional items such as pill bottles with sharpness and enables users to view favorite photos in full color. The Discovery’s monitor tilt feature enables users to position the 19” high-contrast LCD screen for optimal viewing. The US-made Discovery comes with a lifetime warranty.
The Eye-Pal Vision combines a conventional CCTV with a scanner that can read text aloud. The device has three modes: magnification, scanning/reading, and fine print. In magnification, or traditional CCTV mode, the Eye-Pal can enlarge full-color images up to 40x. Its scanning/reader can read documents aloud that users can store as a text or mp3 file. In fine print mode, the Eye-Pal enlarges print on the monitor in the user’s chosen font and color and reads the text aloud.
The MagniLink Mira is a video magnifier ergonomically designed to ease of use, featuring plug and play functionality and tactile control buttons with different shapes mounted on the monitor. Monitor sizes range from 18.5” to 23”. The MagniLink Mira camera is optimized for reading with a flicker-free picture with high contrast and bright colors. The machine has an automatic feature to keep things such as cans and pill bottles in focus. The MagniLink is a great fit for tech-wary seniors.
Ash Technologies Horizon desktop magnifier is fitted with the latest 19" TFT widescreen format anti-glare screen. The Horizon features full color and high-contrast reading modes and a range of enhanced color options. The modular Horizon delivers Ash's full range of image capabilities with an adjustable screen that can be angled perfectly for reading, writing, drawing, photo viewing, and doing hobbies.