Magnifier for Smart Phones and Tablet Devices: Claro MagX

App to magnify text or objects

Introduction

Claro MagX is an app that converts your iPhone, iPad or Android device into a visual magnifier. It basically makes small items bigger such as small text in a book or newspaper.  Just hold your phone up to whatever you want to magnify.

As the app can use the devices in-built flash, it can be used in a dimly lit area.  Advanced visual features include full-colour mode, two colour mode and grey scale mode. The app features 16 levels of magnification, high contrast and colour viewing options to make the text easier on your eyes.  Freeze mode option – tap the viewfinder to freeze the image for closer viewing. Tap the screen to release the freeze.


More apps from Claro

The good: Available free on iOS and Android and can be used on any tablet or phone.  It makes use of existing technology.

The not so good: Controls are small and hard to see on a small device.

The verdict: Great alternative to a dedicated handheld video magnifiers and is a useful app for anyone, but in particular for individuals with vision impairment.

Richard keeps it simple

We recently assessed a user “Richard” for an aid to make it easier to directly access his iPad. And in our journey to find a solution, we trialled the Stylus Pack from the National AT library.

 styluses suitable for a wide range of needs

Above photo and description  below are taken from the National AT Library site:

The Stylus Pack is a selection of styluses suitable for a wide range of needs. Each stylus is designed for people who have difficulty interacting with the iPad screen. Users can firmly grasp the styluses in order to use with the iPad. These items are suitable for an individual user, or a range of users with diverse needs. Features/Items Included: iPad Flex Stylus iPad Strap Stylus TBar Stylus Pogo Stylus Ball Top Stylus.

But let me begin at the beginning

Richard is non-verbal and uses the Allora communication aid daily. It is mounted onto his powered wheelchair. Richard drives his powered wheelchair with his right hand and also accesses the keyboard on the Allora with his right index finger. He has a limited range of movement of his right upper limb, but it is also his only means of access. Richard’s wheelchair does not have blue tooth capability.

Photos below by the author with consent by Richard.

Person using an Allora communication machinePerson holding onto power wheelchair joystick

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard is also a writer and accesses a PC by using the standard keyboard (positioned in a specific way on a height adjustable desk) and using mouse keys instead of an external mouse or joystick.

So this gives you an idea already that Richard has more than one way of accessing technology with his right hand. So why does he struggle with direct access on the iPad? Richard’s fingernail bed is very long. And even when his nails are at the shortest it can be it sticks over the top of his fingers. Therefore when he taps onto the screen, his nail makes contact and not his skin. This, along with very limited finger extension (he has strong flexor patterns in his wrist, metacarpal phalangeal joint and distal phalangeal joint) makes activating a touch screen very difficult/impossible.

But we wanted to try and find a solution as he has a (very old) iPad that he would love to use more as it is portable, as opposed to a PC.

Due to Richard’s limited hand function, unfortunately, none of the items in the Stylus Pack proved to be successful. The standard type pen stylus aids looked promising and the stylus we received as a freebie from the CSO in Cork is up to now the most successful. When I returned the Stylus Pack to the National AT Library I also added a CSO stylus into the pack.

standard type pen stylus

It takes great effort from Richard to maintain grip of the stylus and when it slips out of his hand he is not able to pick it up again and adjust his grip independently. Not shown on the Stylus Pack photo is also conductive thread. I did embroider his winter glove’s right index fingertip with the conductive thread but I am yet to see if this is successful. Past trials have shown limited success.

 

Richard loves his Allora and of course wants to continue to use it. It is a real workhorse. The battery lasts for long periods, it is at hand, no wifi needed and no access issues on that keyboard! But, he really longs for a more portable way and quick access to word processing, the internet and social media participation.

 

In the meantime, we have assessed Richard for a new moulded seat and powered wheelchair frame. This controls on the frame will also have blue tooth capability. I chatted to Richard about this and reminded him that he will be able to access a PC or laptop/tablet via the new powered wheelchair’s joystick. And as it is, he is toying with the idea of buying a new computer/tablet to replace the old iPad anyway.

 

So, at this stage:

* Richard continuous to use his Allora for communication.

* Uses a PC with an external keyboard to access word processing software, the internet and social media.

* Uses the CSO stylus for accessing the iPad mounted off a removable mount. This for now, it the alternative for when he is not close to a PC. Having to hold onto a stylus remains a frustrating way of access.

 

What is up next?

*Once Richard’s new powered wheelchair has been funded and issued, Richard will get used to the new joystick for driving, but also for accessing computers.

*He will continue to use his beloved Allora and PC as always.

*And after investing in a new tablet computer he will have the added bonus of accessing it via the powered wheelchair’s Bluetooth function.

The Stylus Pack is a great option to have on loan and it gives us a variety of ways to try and access a touchscreen. Unfortunately, in this case, it did not help us to come up with a solution. BUT:

We are on the right track and without having been able to trial the options, we would never have known.

Therefore the National AT Library remains a great resource!

 

Gerlene Kennedy, Senior Occupational Therapist

Enable Ireland Adult Services, Little Island

Co. Cork

 

 

Lost Voice Guy – Winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2018

Lost Voice Guy – Winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2018

A few weeks ago, Lee Ridley (a.k.a. Lost Voice Guy) became the first comedian to win Britain’s Got Talent, now in its 12th year. As well as outshining his competitors along the way, and winning with a clear margin, Lee was a favourite with both the judges and the public.

 

What also makes Lee’s win even more incredible is that fact that he is the first person with a disability to win the show. For a stand-up comedian, being able to connect with your audience is essential, and he did this with self-depreciating humour, fantastic delivery and some killer one-liners, all done through the use of Alternative and Augmentative Communication(AAC).

 

AAC provides a means of communication for those whose speech is not sufficient to communicate functionally in all environment and with all partners. Lee uses a combination of two devices to support his communication – an iPad with apps, and a dedicated device called a Lightwriter.

 

Lee has been on the comedy circuit since 2012, and has won prestigious prizes, including the BBC Radio New Comedy Awards in 2014. Below is an interview that Lee participated in, via email, with Karl O’Keeffe back in 2013, which gives some insights into his process and the unique challenges that using a synthesised voice can present.

 

Check out Lee’s other work on his youtube channel (www.youtube.com/user/LostVoiceGuy) – be prepared to laugh your socks off!


 

Karl: You are the first person ever to do stand up comedy who uses a communication device, so you had nobody to learn from. What are the most important techniques and tricks you have learned so far that you wish someone had told you when you were starting?

 

Lee: I think one of the most important techniques that I have learnt is how to deal with timing. Obviously it’s pretty hard to know when to leave pauses for laughter and stuff, especially as I have to pre plan this. I can pause whenever I want but you have to be ready to pause when people laugh otherwise the start of the next bit gets lost or they don’t laugh as long. You sort of have to know when it’s coming so you’re ready for it. Obviously every audience is different so I’m never going to get it right every time.  I think I’m getting better at anticipating when to pause though.

 

Karl: I see from your videos that you use both a LightWriter and an iPad. Can you tell me which it better for stand up comedy?

 

Lee: I use my iPad for my stand up and I use my Lightwriter for day to day conversations. I just find that my iPad is easier to understand slightly. It is also easier to find my material on the iPad and because it backs up to the cloud, it’s a bit more secure and means i can use any Apple device. It’s also a bit sexier than my Lightwriter.

 

Karl: Do you always use the same voice? Why is the voice important in your performance?

 

Lee: I use the same voice mostly yes. However I do use other voices in my act as well for comedy purposes. For example, I use a woman’s voice to do an impression of my mother. I think that my main voice is important to me because it has become ‘my’ voice. It’d be weird if I changed it now.

 

Karl: What app do you use on the iPad for communication?

 

Lee: I use Proloquo2go, which is a brilliant app. It is very complex but easy to use at the same time. It does everything that I need it to do really.

 

Karl: What is your favourite app on the iPad?

 

Lee: I tweet quite a lot so I tend to use Tweetbot all the time. I couldn’t get through long train journeys with the Spotify app either!

 

Karl: Do you use any other Assistive Technology (computer access etc.)?

 

Lee: No. I only use Proloquo2go on my iPad and iPhone and then my Lightwriter.

 

Mounting an iPad to a Wheelchair

Positioning a device well is essential for optimal access and use. In some cases mounting from a wheelchair may be required. Although lots of different devices can be mounted to a wheelchair, this post focuses on some of the options available for mounting a tablet.

1.    Daessy

various daessy mounts

Daedalus Technologies main product is the Dassey mounting system which has a wide range of brackets, device adaptor plates and connecting bars that will fit most communication machines and tablets onto a wheelchairs.  It’s a good option for mounting, but it’s a bit heavy duty for a light device such as an iPad.

Daessy have a number of Standard Daessy Wheelchair Mounts that allow the mount to fold behind or to the side of the chair.  They also have wheelchair mounts with the option for the user to release their mount to swing to the side and lock to out of position.

http://www.daessy.com/dms/indexm.html

If the user is able to reach a release-catch in fount of them, then swing away options may be suitable such as these two below.

Locking Swing-Away Mount DLSA7

Daessy Locking Swing Away Mount DLSA7

The DAESSY Locking Swing-Away Mount (DLSA7) The Locking Swing-Away Mount consists of a single length of tube bent to a right angle shape and supported in a clamp that allows the Mount to be swung away from the user in the manner of a gate. A Locking mechanism located at the clamp and operated by a cable running underneath the Mounted device controls the swing-away action.

Swing Aside Mount DSAM4

Daessy Swing Aside Mount DSAM4

 

The Swing Aside Mount combines the features of the Locking Swing Away Mount (DLSA7) with the lockable frame clamp components. The mount can be swung away from the user by releasing the lock-pin connected to the cable that runs below the horizontal tube.

As well as the Dassey standard mounts, custom solutions can be setup using their large range of components.

With Daessy mounts, the devices (iPads or other) can be quickly detached from the mount and the mount can be lifted completely out of the frame clamp for mount removal.

 

2.    Rehadapt

REHAdapt mount on a Wheelchair

 

Rehadapt manufacture a number of options for wheelchair mounts. Again similar to Daessy it consists of poles and connecting joints.

This is a good mounting system, light but quite expensive.  Rehadapt’s Virtual Mounting Solution offers a way to see a virtual image of your mounting needs.  First take a number of pictures from different angels of the location where mount is needed. Then note details of the make and model of the wheelchair, details of the device or switch to be used, which side it is to go on and any other requirements. Email all off to the service.  Rehadapt will then send back to you, a proposal of the mounting configuration including a superimposed image and a list of all parts needed.
http://www.rehadapt.com/index.php/en/support-en/vms

 

3.    Mount’nMover

user rotating a mount n'mover mount

Mount’nMover is a mounting system that allows the user to easily make adjustments via levers at the front of the mount. One lever allows the mounted device to be tilted 0 to 90 degrees and anywhere in between and the other lever allows the mounted device to be moved in a horizontal plane and locked in multiple positions. It comes in three versions: Dual Arm, Single Arm and Tilt’n Turner. All three attach to a wheelchair, table or floor stand.  https://www.mountnmover.com/

Video of mount https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj7dgl9-bF0

 

4.  Ram mounts

This is a more lower cost mounting solutions as Ram Mounts is a mainstream mounting system, designed for mounting tablets into cars, however it does have brackets that will allow attachment to a wheelchair.  Typically a Ram mount will consists of a clamp, ball and socket arm and a cradle for devices such as a mobile phone, PDA, tablet etc.  This video shows how a tablet or can be mounted to a chair https://youtu.be/xIlQTgRtRrM

There are a number of useful clamps that could be used to attach to a wheelchair, such as the RAM Tough-Claw or the RAM Rail Base U-Bolt.

Ram Tough Claw clamp

RAM Rail Base U-Bolt clamp

https://www.rammount.com/products/toughclaw

https://www.rammount.com/part/RAM-B-231U

Arms of various sizes can connect to these brackets as well as connected together with double ball adapters.

RAM double socket arm

https://www.rammount.com/part/RAM-B-230U

The RAM X-Grip range provides useful universal tablet holders.RAM X-Grip cradle

 

 

https://www.rammount.com/products/tablets/xgrip

Students who have difficulty writing

Just found out about and this app called SnapType for the iPad. I played with it last night and just want to give you a bit more information.

What is it?

Take a picture of your worksheet and add text to it.

What to do?

  • Open up the app and take a picture of the sheet you want to use.
  • Tap where you want to add text. A yellow square appears. Touch the square and the onscreen keyboard will appear (or use the external keyboard).
  • Start typing (the yellow square will grow in width as you type).
  • If you want to increase the size of your text, you will see a horizontal line on the screen with a slider (white circle). Slide it to the right to increase font size.
  • You can also tap and then drag to move the text box to another area.
  • Just like other photographs you can increase size by using two fingers.
  • To save work press the iPad home button and power button at the same time (screen catcher). This saves as a photo on the iPad camera roll.
  • Thus, you can not save it in Pages, for example, in your “History” folder, but you can add the photo to a blank page in Pages and save it.
  • To start over again, turn the iPad face-down for 2 seconds. The photo will disappear and you can take another photo of a worksheet.

worksheet with inserted text box

On the left I just did a little example by showing you how I added my name to a form. It is actually ideal for people who can’t fill in forms.

** TIP: When taking a photo, make sure the camera lens is at the top and the home button is on the bottom. Otherwise the onscreen keyboard come down “upside down” and unfortunately the image does not rotate as apps rotate.