About 1.3 billion people around the world live with some form of visual impairment, either blindness or mild to severe vision loss.
In America alone, 3.4 million people over the age of 40 are either legally blind or have varying visual impairment. Luckily, medics, scientists, engineers and other professionals are working to find ways to reduce these numbers and develop advanced forms of technological aid that could help people cope with their visual handicaps.
With increasing innovations in the field, more and more devices have poured in to the market helping people with partial vision loss live their lives fully and get as enriching an experience as everybody else!
One such category of devices is the CCTV Low Vision Aids.
Over the years the CCTV low vision aids have been of great utility, allowing its users to overcome many low vision conditions such as:
- Macular degeneration
- Retinitis pigmentosa
- Ocular Albinism etc.
What is a CCTV Low Vision Aid?
A CCTV low vision aid device works by capturing the image or print of any object, such as newspapers, and display its magnified version on a screen, which in turn helps people see more clearly. For capturing the image a camera, usually mounted on a stand, operates as the primary part of the low vision aid. This image is then processed, magnified and displayed on a screen or computer monitor.
Most cameras come with settings (such as zoom, shift focus etc.) that can be modified and adjusted according to the need and comfort of user. Having a wide variety of device settings to choose from, differing quality and power of lens, navigation options etc. makes the price tag of these products go up.
But with different variations of CCTV aids and competition among companies to develop better as well as cost-effective CCTV Low vision aids, it is safe to say that these devices are one of the most affordable options available in the market.
How does a Portable CCTV Low Vision Aid Function?
Gone are the times when the cost of being able to see a single object clearly was having your eyes stuck to a CCTV device on a desk, and sitting around it all day. The latest CCTV low vision aid models are built to be portable making it much easier to take your vision-aid around the house and carry on with your routine chores with convenience.
Typically, A CCTV magnification system consists of a customized camera, a mounting stand for steady hands-free positioning of the camera, high quality lenses with the ability to zoom, a screen or monitor for viewing desired image; viewing modes with lighting, color, and contrast settings for optimal visual assistance, and a movable platform to position the object, such as a book, which you want to magnify. Even more so, it can consist of only a small camera which can be hooked up with a TV.
There’s another similar device which comes in a form of tablet and uses its camera to magnify image. Although this sort can only be used for close object viewing like reading (prescriptions, newspapers, books etc.).
Your Best Bets in the Market
Some of the best, most affordable and portable CCTV low vision aids available in the market are listed below.
IrisVision is one of the most innovative devices in this line-up. Its design is specialized for use by people with low vision conditions such as Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, Stargardt Disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Glaucoma, Ocular Albinism etc. This is a wearable device made in collaboration with Samsung, and it comprises of two main parts i.e. a headset and a display unit. The headset is such that you can wear it around your neck, carry anywhere, and use as and when required. This feature makes IrisVision the best among portable low-vision aids. After extended use, it can be charged with a wireless charging pad.
As for its software features, these are updated for free. It consists of several viewing modes such as Bubble View Mode, Scene Mode, Colored Reading Modes, Bioptic Mode, Reading Line Mode and RP Mode with customized features for people with Retinitis Pigmentosa. It also responds to voice commands for a user-friendly experience and contains OCR. A 70 degree field of view provides the user sharp and crisp image of the desired object.
The product is fairly user-friendly, and for added instructional detail, a how-to guideline has been provided on its website.
Price Range: $ 2,950
- 70 Degree Extra-Wide Field of View
- IrisReader (OCR Technology)
- Takes Voice Commands
- Online Streaming
- Image Gallery for later viewing
- Wireless Charging
- Headphones Port
- 30 Days Money Back Guarantee
- 2 year Limited Warranty
MATT Connect will allow you to read and view near as well as distant objects with its wireless camera and android based tablet. This portable device weighs only 1.4 lbs, with a 12 inch HD screen. Device’s interface is user friendly, navigation through different settings is easy and if you still require assistance there are YouTube tutorials to help with that. Matt Connect also comes with a built-in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) or text to speech function, in which the device recognizes the text and reads it out for user convenience.
Overall, Matt Connect is impressive and good for any kind of task, be it reading or listening to a book or studying in a classroom, this device performs well in all areas.
Price Range: $ 2, 995
- OCR / Text-to-speech
- Desmos Calculator
- Picture Gallery (1-80 x Magnification)
- Proxy Connection Support
- Audio reading option
- Pre-installed: APH app Nearby Explorer™ Online, Google Suite, Dropbox etc.
- 1 year limited warranty
Zoomax Portable Snow 12
Snow 12 Portable Tablet device with the large display is a very good magnifier for both near and distant viewing. Added with multiple benefits like Text to Speech (OCR) and detachable and fold-able stand, Zoomax Snow 12 comes with a customized software which can also be connected to your PC for transferring files. External camera for Zoomax Snow 12 is an optional item and is sold separately. This device is reasonably handy. It can be carried in a pouch or bag easily to school or work and appropriately large enough to be set up for writing and reading.
Price Range: To be quoted by company for each individual
- Full page scan and reading
- Detachable and fold-able stand
- Comfortable Writing Space
- File Transfer via PC
- OCR or Text-to-speech in 20+ Languages
- Analogue Stick and Touch Screen Control
- Power saving stand-by mode
- Voice Commands
Explore 8 is a portable tablet device which comes with two cameras. It has a handy size but still large enough screen to catch far objects such as a road sign. With 30x magnification levels, this device performs reasonably good considering its relatively small size. It can also be connected to a television via HDMI or USB cable. Explore 8 has an 8 inch screen size and a simple design with few buttons, which provides for effortless navigation for a user of any age-group and tech-proficiency.
Price Range: $ 895 – $ 1,100
- Touchscreen Navigation
- Twin Ultra HD Cameras
- Connected to Large Screen TV
- 30 Days Money back Guarantee
- Variety of Contrast Screens
- Magnification Power (2x – 30x)
Ruby XL HD
Ruby XL HD is a portable CCTV device with small size (5.5 inches high and 3.5 inches wide) and quite lightweight. You can carry this in your pocket but it will feel a bit bulkier than your cell phone, because of attached small stand. Ruby XL is a great device that you can carry almost anywhere, especially in places where you don’t feel comfortable carrying large devices. Good for reading menus in restaurants or any place where surroundings are dimly lit. Of course it is equally good for usual reading in normal conditions.
Bright colored and embossed buttons around the screen makes it user-friendly for a user of any age-group. It includes the same features as present in most such devices, such as freezing frames and different contrast colors.
Price Range: $ 895
- Built-in Reading Stand
- Easy flip-out Handle
- 20 High-contrast color viewing modes
- Freeze frame with adjustable magnification
- Continuous zoom ( 2x- 14x)
DaVinci Pro System is one of the most notable devices available in the market. Although it comes with a larger monitor which makes it harder to carry around, but it’s lightweight enough to be moved around easily within your home, school or office. It’s equipped with full HD camera (1080p) which can be twisted and adjusted to user’s preference. Connectivity of Davinci Pro with other devices such as your PC/laptop or even your phone is one of its pleasant features that allow ease-of use. It also comes with a 2 year warranty. With all these high-end specifications DaVinci Pro certainly is also high-end with respect to its place in the cost chart. You can also additionally avail more features, such as the XY panel, with added price.
Price Range: $ 3,995
- Full HD Sony 1080p 3-in-1 camera
- Text-to-Speech (OCR)
- Magnification Power (77x)
- 28 Contrast viewing modes
- Computer compatible
- 2 year warranty
The convenience from CCTV devices has greatly improved quality of life for people with visual defects and helped them achieve an enriching life experience. It makes a huge impact when you are able to move around comfortably in your surroundings without the hindrance of your visual handicaps, so go ahead, choose the best suited option for yourself and let the tech efficient device transform your life!