Computer & Electronic Aids

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In these modern times Computers are an essential piece of equipment for most people, but they are even more important Assistive Devices for persons with disabilities, including persons with Visual Impairments. With the advent of the Internet and the multitude of businesses supported online, one's imagination is the only limit. You can do just about anything from your home computer, including operating a business, doing research, socializing, listening to music, watching TV & movies, playing games, reading books, purchasing products, doing banking and taking part in discussions. Therapeutic treatments and support groups are even available on-line through your computer. Many persons with Visual Impairments turn to computers to assist them in the tasks mentioned above and there are a number of Assistive Devices & adaptions available to purchase which make almost any computer accessible for anyone to use.

Once you've had a computer, you will wonder how you ever managed without it, you don't need to spend a fortune to buy one, you can start off with a cheaper one & slowly upgrade as you feel the need arises.

Computers & Electronic Aids for the blind are the Assistive Devices that are used by Persons who are Blind or have a Visual Impairment, which enables them to be able to operate equipment such as Computers, Cellphones, Tablets, etc. with more ease or without assistance. These Computers & Electronic Devices are extremely useful equipment for persons who are Blind or who have a Visual Impairment. They are important tools of integration and can be used for a number of purposes including: Work, Reading, Research, Entertainment and Socializing, to mention just a few. These Computer & Electronic Aids are therefore extremely powerful tools for the Blind, or Visually Impaired and include products such as:

  • Screen Readers
  • Screen Magnifiers
  • Refreshable Braille Displays
  • Braille & Enlarged Keyboards, etc.

The availability of this equipment is increasing thanks to Organizations and Companies such as Blind SA & Sensory Solutions who have made concerted efforts to make sure that this equipment is available for persons with Visual Impairments or the Blind in South Africa. To find out more about these Computers & Electronic Aids & the organisations & companies that provide them, read the article below.

Blind SA: originally started on 26 October 1946 as the South African Blind Worker’s Organisation to help the blind find meaningful careers. In 2004 it became Blind SA. Blind SA is governed by its members who elect the Head Committee. We insist on self-representation and work and speak from the viewpoint of blind people. We stand for equality, advocating the rights of the blindBlind SA throughout South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, we serve the blind community at large, we equip blind people with the skills they need to fully and independently participate in society. This includes support in living without assistance, getting about, using technology, reading, working and socialising. All this is made possible through advocacy, our Education Committee, Braille Services, Equipment, orientation and mobility services and our employment programme. It is through this, and the support of our donors, that we connect South African’s who are blind or visually impaired with the world they live in. “Our Purpose is to end the cycle of poverty for Blind South Africans, empowering them with knowledge and information through education, braille and developmental services and to break down barriers, provide opportunities and create answers that improve the quality of life for the blind community so that they can live the life they choose.”

You can Contact Blind SA on: Tel: +27 11 839 1793/4 or Email:, or visit us at: Address: 102 Eighth Avenue, Mayfair, Gauteng, South Africa. Website:

Sensory Solutions: Sensory Solutions is a South African company with considerable experience in the field of accommodating persons who are visually impaired, blind or partially sighted. We specialise in the field of providing Access Technology solutions for individuals, schools, universities, government departments and more, in order to make the environment more accessible for the visually impaired.Sensory Solutions

Sensory Solutions is at the forefront of the world’s leading Access Technology products and are in some cases the exclusive distributors. Sensory Solutions is a responsible employer which employs people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds as well as those who are disabled. Part of our mission is to advise individuals and institutions on the best solutions available for particular environments, to design such solutions and finally to implement them on site. As such, we are approved African distributors for a wide range of Access Technology products selected specifically for their suitability to the African environment and our specific situation.

We are proud to be appointed exclusive and preferred dealerships for some of the world’s most leading Access Technology manufacturers. Our mission and ethos revolve around our fellow man, empowering them and making the playing fields level as far as we can make a difference.

Whether you are an individual, institution or company in need of information regarding Access Technology, we are ready to assist you. Please feel free to contact us at our Head Office on: +27 12 664 7704 or at 226 Kruger Avenue, Lyttelton Manor, Centurion, 0157. Alternatively you can visit our Cape Town Branch office at: 4 Oxford Street, Durbanville, Cape Town, 7550, or contact us at: Tel: +27 21 975 3558, or Email: or via Fax: +27 12 664 7706, or visit their website at:

The South African Council for the Blind (SANCB): is a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation established in 1929 with four mission focus areas which include Prevention; Inclusion; Advocacy & Support. As a South African national representative body for the blind, it offers supportive, rights driven function to its nearly 80 member-organisations. The presence of its community work is felt throughout its nine provincial structures in South Africa. The SANCB also lays emphasis on theSouth African Council for the Blind prevention of blindness and in 1944 the Bureau for the Prevention of Blindness was established. Since then, SANCB has grown exponentially, adding Education and Rehabilitation to its portfolio in 1985; the Resource Centre for Assistive Devices and Technology which is now known as the Assistive Technology Centre in 1986 and Entrepreneurial Development and support in 1991.

 “Our Mission serves and supports community empowerment; rehabilitation; training and education of South Africans with visual impairments, we also facilitate the prevention of blindness, while our Vision is enhanced facilitation and collaborations with a network of Organizations for the full participation and inclusion of blind and partially sighted people in all aspects of a diverse South African society. The South African Council for the Blind (SANCB) has a wide variety of objectives, one of which is to supply assistive devices and related technologies to persons with visual impairments.

Contact the South African Council for the Blind (SANCB) to find out more on +27 12 452 3811 or
+27 63 686 8098. Alternatively you can email them on: or visit their website: You can also visit them at their offices at 514 White Street, Bailey's Muckleneuk, Pretoria, South Africa, 0181.

Choosing The Right Type Of Computer

Before purchasing a computer, you will need to decide whether a desktop or laptop would be best suited for your needs. Both have advantages and disadvantages, depending on what they will be used for, so you would firstly need to look at the reason for purchasing a computer and then the advantages and benefits of both desktops and laptops, which would then determine which one would suit your needs.

Take a look at the advantages and benefits of both desktops and laptops below, to help you decide which to purchase.


Desktop Computers

Image Courtesy of Edit Microsystems

Desktop computers offer a variety of benefits, they not as portable as a laptops, but can be a more affordable and powerful option, with more features than Laptop computers, therefor ideal for a classroom, office or organisation. There are also a variety of other advantages that Desktops have over Laptop, which include:

  • Desktop computers are easier, and less expensive, to upgrade.
  • Desktop computers are generally less expensive overall and offer a better overall value.
  • Desktop computers have a more comfortable keyboard and a much easier to use mouse. It should be noted that an aftermarket large, comfortable Keyboard and Mouse or Trackball, are also possible.
  • Desktop computers generally have larger monitors, but bigger monitors can also be connected to Laptops.
  • Desktop computers have a lower risk of theft, which means less chance of losing your data and having to pay to replace your computer.

There are a variety of different types of Desktops which are available from various companies in South Africa, Contact Us to see what other types of these products are available in South Africa that cannot assist you.:

There are also various other types of these products which are available from other companies,


A Laptop, sometimes called a Notebook, is a portable personal computer, which has a Keyboard and screen that can be folded shut for transportation. Laptops are extremely useful for working on while traveling or for people who have to spend time in bed or hospital and still need to work on their Laptops.


Image Courtesy of Edit Microsystems

Other advantages of a Laptop computer, as compared to a Desktop computer include:

  • Laptop computers are highly portable and allow you to use your computer almost anywhere.
  • If you are an international student, a laptop computer will be much easier to transport from home to school and back again.
  • Laptop computers take up less room on a desk or table and can be put away when not in use.
  • Laptop computers have a single cord to contend with, rather than the multiple cords associated with desktop computer use.
  • A more comfortable Keyboard and Mouse or Trackball can be purchased to use instead of those used by the Laptop.
  • Desktop computers generally have larger monitors, but bigger monitors can also be connected to Laptops to use when at home.

While the list of advantages of a laptop computer may seem sparse when compared to a desktop computer, essentially, the choice comes down to portability versus functionality and cost. While desktop computers are less expensive, more powerful and more user-friendly, there is a lot to be said for being able to work, check emails, chat online, write papers and play video games anytime and anywhere you like. This is particularly true if you are a person with Mobility Impairments. An External Hard Drive can also be used to store and backup work if space is an issue.

There are a variety of different types of Laptops which are available from various companies in South Africa, There are also various other types of these products which are available from other companies, Contact Us to see what other types of these products are available in South Africa.

Computers For The Blind

There are a variety of different types of especially made Computers for the Blind sold in South Africa, which are easier to operate by Persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments, including the following which is sold by Edit Microsystems.

SAnote Portable Talking Computer for the Blind: is a portable fully functional talking computer for the Blind. It is manufactured and distributed in South Africa. The SAnote software is customisable to individual needs but also is ready-to-use out-the-box. The SAnote looks like a standard qwerty keyboard, but it provides the user with feedback through synthesised speech. Its user interface is an easy to use menu navigation system and allows you to browse the web, use the scientific calculator and post to Twitter. The system offers braille support for external braille displays as well. It has enhanced audio functionality that enables playback and audio recording. and to copy, move, rename, delete and print files. You can also send and receive emails (smtp/pop3)
Play, record and edit audio files in most popular audio formats; Browse the web; Lookup words in the offline dictionary; Use the scientific calculator, unit conversion and word-processing utilities; Create customisable databases; Share files with other devices like your mobile phone; Listen and copy audio or data CDs, and DVDs. This computer is available in English, Sepedi, Afrikaans and Setswana and it allows the user to switch between languages with one key stroke without leaving the programme currently running. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Braille Translation Software

Synaptic Software

Image Courtesy of Edit Microsystems

There are a variety of different types of especially made Software for the Blind sold in South Africa, which makes computers easier to operate by Persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments. This includes the following which is sold by Edit Microsystems.

Synapptic: is an all-in-one software package for people who are blind or partially sighted, it is easy-to-use, quick-to-learn and affordable. It runs on Android Smartphones and Tablets and has been specifically designed to be quick-to-learn and easy-to-use thank to its simple and straightforward menu structure and intuitive design, Synapptic requires very little training, so most people teach themselves how to use it in just a few minutes. If extra advice and support is needed, Help Pages can be accessed for each and every screen. If you’re thinking of using a Tablet or Smartphone for the first time, or just want to communicate and catch-up quickly and easily while on the move, then Synapptic is for you! Synapptic is available as a separate software package to install on an existing Android device, or as a complete Smartphone or Tablet, fully setup and ready to go. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or to receive a quote.

Braille Translation Software

When people produce braille, this is called braille transcription. When computer software produces braille, this is called braille translation. Braille translation software exists to handle most of the common languages of the world, and many technical areas, such as:

  • mathematics (mathematical notation), for example WIMATS
  • music (musical notation)
  • tactile graphics.

They allow, using standard or specific programs, screen magnification and conversion of text into sound or touch (Braille line), and are useful for all levels of visual handicap. OCR scanners can, in conjunction with text-to-speech software, read the contents of books and documents aloud via computer. Vendors also build closed-circuit televisions that electronically magnify paper, and even change its contrast and color, for visually impaired users. For more information, consult Assistive technology.

Although people who are blind use speech output systems to read aloud electronic documents, tactile formats are often most effective in highly technical disciplines such as mathematics, physics, computer science, and engineering. Braille translation software translates electronic documents into Braille code. From these files, a refreshable Braille display can present tactile Braille or a Braille embosser can produce a hard-copy on special paper.

Commonly used products include:

  • Duxbury Braille Translator
  • MegaDots
  • Braille2000.

Open source Braille translation programs include:

  • NFBTrans
  • LibLouis.

Specific applications provide support for a wide array of electronic document formats that may include ASCII, RTF, MS Word, Word Perfect, PDF, HTML, and XML, as well as files prepared according to the NIMAS textbook or DAISY digital talking book standards. Some products also support math equation formats, such as LaTeX, MathType, or MathML.

Low Vision & Braille Keyboards & Stickers

A Braille keyboard is a specialist input device that allows the user to type and enter text or instructions for the computer in Braille, which is a writing system for blind and visually impaired people. It is made up of raised dots that can be 'read' by touch. As the user runs their fingers over the keys, they can feel the bumps that represent keys. There are a variety of different types and styles of these keyboards, including Bluetooth powered Braille keyboard that can connect to a computer, smartphone or tablet (if they are Bluetooth enabled).

There are also various cheaper alternatives, including Braille Stickers and Braille keyboard covers.

Low Vision Keyboards

There are a variety of devices are available from companies such as Sensory Solutions and are sold in South Africa. They include products such as:

EasyTouch Large Print Multimedia Keyboard

Image Courtesy of Sensory Solutions

EasyTouch Large Print Multimedia Keyboard: The EasyTouch Large Print Multimedia Keyboard (pictured right) is designed for those whose eyesight isn’t quite what it used to be, or for anyone with a slight visual impairment. With its large 4X black print on bright yellow keys, you can type out anything from a simple Email to finishing your next novel with greater ease and less strain on your eyes. The membrane key switches provide a quiet and quick response and stand up to heavy use– up to 5 million keystrokes! Not only is the Adesso® AKB-132UY keyboard great for anyone with slight visual impairments, but its large, bright florescent keys make it a great and even fun tool for kids to use too! The Features include:

  • Fluorescent 4X Print Keys: The large 4X size black print on fluorescent yellow keys provide excellent contrast and stronger appeal over traditional keyboards that have small, hard-to-read white letters on black keys.
  • Multimedia and Internet Hot Keys: Control your media player and browse the Internet with just one key touch using the built-in Multimedia and Internet Hot Keys for easy access to your favorite media or website!
  • Quiet Membrane Key Switches: With a life cycle of 5 million keystrokes, Membrane key switches provide a faster response along with a quieter typing experience.

These keyboards are available to purchase in South Africa from organizations and companies such as Sensory Solutions, contact them to find out more about the specifications, or to receive a quote. 

ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard

Image Courtesy of Sensory Solutions

ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard: The ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard (pictured right) is designed for anyone who struggles to see the lettering on their keyboard, the ZoomText large-print keyboard makes typing faster and easier than before. Each key and button label is easy to see, thanks to its 36-point text and high-contrast colour options. The ZoomText large-print keyboard also provides quick access to ZoomText features. The F1 through F12 keys perform double duty - when you press and hold a function key, its assigned ZoomText command is triggered. The commands allow you to instantly start ZoomText, change magnification levels, toggle screen enhancements, launch AppReader and DocReader, and more, all without having to memorize hotkeys. You can even reassign each feature key to your choice of ZoomText commands, Internet and multimedia commands, or to open an application, document or web page. The keyboard requires ZoomText version 9.03 or greater & you can choose between "Black on Yellow" or "White on Black" colour options.

These keyboards are available to purchase in South Africa from organizations and companies such as Sensory Solutions, contact them to find out more about the specifications, or to receive a quote. 

Alphabet, Keyboard & Braille Stickers

Alphabet or Keyboard Stickers

Image Courtesy of Edit Microsystems

Alphabet, Keyboard & Braille Stickers are an economical option for creating a contrast or bilingual Braille keyboard. Braille stickers are printed on clear Lexan so the original key legend shows through; this allows you to add Braille stickers to your existing keyboard so that it becomes a bilingual keyboard (Braille) and the original language of your keyboard. The stickers use an easy peel-and-stick method to install & will not ooze adhesive, dry out, or damage the original keyboard key. Various types of Alphabet, Keyboard & Braille Stickers are available in different styles in South Africa & include products such as:

Alphabet or Keyboard Stickers: The Alphabet, Keyboard Stickers are a Set of vinyl stickers for the QWERTY keyboard. This includes lower case and upper case, in the renowned Sassoon font. These stickers are ideal for users who have visual difficulties including a special contrast & it includes 1 sheet consisting of 4 choices of style. The stickers include the Alphabet only & are available to be purchase from companies such as Edit Microsytems, contact them to find out more or to receive a quote.

These and other types of Alphabet, Keyboard & Braille Stickers are available to purchase from companies and organisations such as Sensory Solutions, Edit Microsystems and The South African Council for the Blind (SANCB), contact them to find out more, or Contact Us if you require any assistance.

Braille Keyboard Cover

The Braille keyboard cover is a moulded cover which fits over the keyboard meaning that a Braille user can easily identify what they are typing. The cover is designed to fit a specific USB keyboard which is provided as part of the product. When the box is opened, you will find that the cover has already been fitted for you to the keyboard.

The Braille characters are moulded into polyurethane film so cannot be squashed or damaged, and will not come loose like stickers can over time, which is a real advantage if you intend using it regularly. The cover will also protect the computer keyboard from dirt & finger marks as well. If you are able to hear, you’ll be able to use this keyboard alongside screen reader software such as JAWS which will allow you to listen.

There a various other types of  Braille Keyboard Covers which are available in South Africa, Contact Us to find out what types are available in South Africa and which companies supply them.

Refreshable Braille Displays

There are a variety of other products that are available that further effect the use and sale of Braille Books and make reading and books more enjoyable and easier to read. This includes a refreshable braille display or braille terminal, which is an electro-mechanical device for displaying braille characters, usually by means of round-tipped pins raised through holes in a flat surface. Blind computer users who cannot use a computer monitor can use it to read text output. Speech synthesizers are also commonly used for the same task, and a blind user may switch between the two systems or use both at the same time depending on circumstances. Deafblind computer users may also use refreshable braille displays.

The base of a refreshable braille display is a pure braille keyboard. There, the input is performed by two sets of three keys plus a space bar (as in the Perkins Brailler), while output is via a refreshable braille display consisting of a row of electromechanical character cells, each of which can raise or lower a combination of six (or in some cases, eight) round-tipped pins. Other variants exist that use a conventional QWERTY keyboard for input and braille pins for output, as well as input-only and output-only devices.

Orbit Reader 20

Image Courtesy of Sensory Solutions

Orbit Reader 20: The Orbit Reader 20 is an affordable refreshable braille display. It is a unique 3-in-1 device and serves as a self-contained book reader, a note-taker and as a braille display by connecting to a computer or smartphone via USB or Bluetooth. Features include: Unique signage-quality braille; 20 eight-dot refreshable braille cells; Book-reader mode allows you to read your favorite books and files from a SD card; Note-taker mode allows you to takes notes and edits files. The Braille display mode connects to computers and mobile devices over USB and Bluetooth, you can use it stand-alone or connected to a computer or mobile device, it works with all popular screen readers on Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android. You can switch easily and instantly between modes, it also includes full featured, high-quality Perkins-style 8-key braille keyboard; Panning control rocker keys at each end of display; Cursor pad with 4-way arrows and select keys for easy navigation; Micro-USB port for charging and connectivity; Fast-charging long-life battery; Language-independent operation. The Orbit Reader 20 has a Solid, durable construction & is resistant to fluids and dust, it is compact, lightweight and portable (less than 1 lb., 6.6 x 4.3 x 1.25 inch).

These Orbit Readers are available to purchase in South Africa from organizations and companies such as Sensory Solutions, contact them to find out more, or to receive a quote. 

On some models the position of the cursor is represented by vibrating the dots, and some models have a switch associated with each cell to move the cursor to that cell directly. The mechanism which raises the dots uses the piezo effect of some crystals, whereby they expand when a voltage is applied to them. Such a crystal is connected to a lever, which in turn raises the dot. There has to be a crystal for each dot of the display, i.e. eight per character. Because of the complexity of producing a reliable display that will cope with daily wear and tear, these displays are expensive. Usually, only 40 or 80 braille cells are displayed. Models with between 18 and 40 cells exist in some notetaker devices.


The software that controls the display is called a screen reader. It gathers the content of the screen from the operating system, converts it into braille characters and sends it to the display. Screen readers for graphical operating systems are especially complex, because graphical elements like windows or slidebars have to be interpreted and described in text form. Modern operating systems usually have an Application Programming Interface to help screen readers obtain this information, such as UI Automation (UIA) for Microsoft Windows, VoiceOver for OS X and iOS, and AT-SPI for GNOME.

Screen Readers

Screen readers are a form of assistive technology (AT) which are essential to people who are blind or visually impaired, to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen. They fall under the category of Computer & Electronic Aids on this web site and are also useful to people who are illiterate or suffer from a learning disability.

A screen reader is a software application which converts text into 'synthesised speech' allowing the user to alternatively listen to content. It is the interface between the computer's operating system, its applications, and the user. The content displayed in screen is sent to standard output, whether a video monitor is present or not. Interpretations are then synthesised to the user with text-to-speech, sound icons, or a Braille output device.

Examples of screen reader software include:

  • Microsoft Windows operating systems have included the Microsoft Narrator light-duty screen reader since Windows 2000.
  • Apple Inc. Mac OS X, iOS, and tvOS include VoiceOver, a feature-rich screen reader, while Google's Android includes Google Text-to-Speech, also on Android, Samsung devices have Samsung Text-to-Speech.
  • The console-based Oralux Linux distribution ships with three console screen-reading environments: Emacspeak, Yasr, and Speakup.
  • BlackBerry 10 devices such as the BlackBerry Z30 include a built-in screen reader. There is also a free screen reader application for older less powerful BlackBerry (BBOS7 and earlier) devices.

There are also popular free and open source screen readers, such as:

  •  The Orca for Unix-like systems
  • NonVisual Desktop Access for Windows.

The most widely used screen readers are separate commercial products:

  • JAWS from Freedom Scientific
  • Window-Eyes from GW Micro
  • Dolphin Supernova by Dolphin
  • System Access from Serotek, and ZoomText Magnifier/Reader from AiSquared are prominent examples in the English-speaking market.
  • The opensource screen reader NVDA is gaining popularity.

Jaws Screen Readers

The JAWS Screen Reader is the world's most popular screen reader, developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse. JAWS provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC. Jaws Screen Readers are available to purchase in South Africa from organizations and companies such as Sensory Solutions, contact them to find out more or to receive a quote. 

Zoom Text Fusion

By blending ZoomText and JAWS together, Fusion has flexible, high-quality speech using Eloquence and Vocalizer Expressive, powerful keyboard access including navigation on the web, and a wide range of customisation options.

Screen Magnifiers

A screen magnifier is software that interfaces with a computer's graphical output to present enlarged screen content. It is a type of assistive technology suitable for visually impaired people with some functional vision. Visually impaired people with little or no functional vision usually use a screen reader.

The simplest form of magnification presents an enlarged portion of the focus of the original screen content, so that it covers some or all of the full screen. This enlarged portion should include the content of interest to the user and the pointer or cursor, also suitably enlarged. As the user moves the pointer or cursor the screen magnifier should track with it and show the new enlarged portion. If this tracking is jerky or flickers it is likely to disturb the user. Also, the pointer or cursor may not be the content of interest: for example, if the user presses a keyboard shortcuts that opens a menu, the magnified portion should jump to that menu. Pop-up windows and changes in system status can also trigger this rapid shifting.

Screen magnifier can also be helpful for people suffering from low vision, such as the elderly, however, some elderly also suffer from additional disabilities such as tremors, which could prevent them using this as a tool.

Features Include

Ranges of 1- to 16-times magnification are common. The greater the magnification the smaller the proportion of the original screen content that can be viewed, so users will tend to use the lowest magnification they can manage.

Screen magnifiers commonly provide several other features for people with particular sight difficulties:

  • Color Inversion. Many people with visual impairments prefer to invert the colors, typically turning text from black-on-white to white-on-black. This can reduce screen glare and is useful for elderly people suffering from age-related macular degeneration.
  • Smoothing Text can become blocky and harder to recognise when enlarged. Some screen magnifiers use interpolation to smooth the text to compensate.
  • Cursor customisation. The mouse and text cursors can often be modified in several ways, such as circling it to help the user locate it on the screen.
  • Different Magnification Modes Screen magnifiers can alter how they present the enlarged portion: covering the full screen, providing a lens that is moved around the un-magnified screen, or using a fixed magnified portion.
  • Crosshairs. Even with magnification, some users can find the mouse pointer hard to see. Crosshairs — especially when their size, color and opacity are customizable — can make the use of a pointing device easier.
  • Screen reader. Some magnifiers come packaged with a basic screen reader, allowing whatever the user is pointing at to be read out.

Screen Magnifiers that are available

There are a variety of Screen magnifiers available, some can be bought, while some come with an operating system. Some of these operating systems need to be bought, while as others are free. (Linux) Below are some examples.

There Screen magnifiers bundled with an operating system

  • The Microsoft Windows operating system has included the "Magnifier" application since Windows 98 (released in 1998). It can integrate with a mouse-button toggle.
  • On OS X, the built-in screen magnification feature can be used at any time by holding the Control key and scrolling the mouse wheel to zoom in or zoom out.
  • Linux-based operating systems:
    • Compiz-Fusion window manager has a highly configurable plugin named "Enhanced Zoom Desktop"
    • GNOME has gnome-mag, which as of 2015 forms part of GNOME Shell
    • KDE has KMagnifier (KMag)
    • Haiku includes an application called Magnify

Screen magnifier products

  • Dolphin Lunar - now Known as Supernova Magnifier, Magnifier with Speech or Supernova Access Suite
  • Virtual Magnifying Glass - Cross-platform, open-source magnifier application
  • ZoomText
  • MAGic
DaVinci HD OCR Magnifier DaVinci is a high performance deskto

Image Courtesy of Sensory Solutions

DaVinci HD OCR Magnifier: The DaVinci HD OCR Magnifier (pictured right) is a high performance desktop video magnifier, featuring HD, text-to-speech (OCR) and a 3-in-1 camera. With HD you will experience high definition color and contrast giving you a crystal clear picture and vibrant colors. DaVinci will read any printed text aloud with the push of a button. DaVinci Sony® HD camera displays crystal clear images in vibrant color and contrast, resulting in the brightest white and deepest black. DaVinci’s high resolution LCD produces maximum levels of picture detail for a clear, bold display. Large field of view allows you to see more on the screen.

Give your tired eyes a rest with our text-to-speech (OCR) feature. Let DaVinci read your favorite article or book aloud. Simply place your printed text under the DaVinci camera and press a button; DaVinci will begin reading what is on the screen within a few seconds. Choose a male or female voice and use the headphone port to enjoy this feature in private. Many different languages are available.

DaVinci can be used as a video magnifier to see near, far and everything in between. You may also use the self-viewing camera position, like a mirror, for applying make-up or other personal grooming tasks. With DaVinci, you’ll have the freedom to read, write, view presentations, whiteboards, and work on crafts and hobbies at work, school or at home.

The DaVinci HD OCR Magnifier is available to purchased in South Africa from organizations and companies such as Sensory Solutions, contact them to find out more about the features, or to receive a quote. 

ONYX Deskset HD: The ONYX Deskset HD's sleek new design has an integrated high-definition camera and a portable monitor to let you read what you want, wherever you go. Read objects from across large rooms or magnify items such as reading materials, classroom assignments and more.

The ONYX Deskset HD is a portable video magnifier that adapts to multiple environments and tasks for productivity at school, work, and at home. The new sleek design integrates a high-definition camera and monitor to let you clearly see what you want, whether it's across the room or at your desk. The 3-in-1 flexible camera provides document reading, distance viewing, and self-viewing modes with versatile controls.

The DaVinci HD OCR Magnifier is available to purchased in South Africa from organizations and companies such as Sensory Solutions, contact them to find out more about the Features & Productive Features, or to receive a quote. 

Mouse Magnifier

This mouse magnifier is lightweight, portable and easy-to-use. It can connect to a TV or a computer via USB converter. 7 different zoom levels give up to a 70x magnification on a 20 inch screen. Guide wheels allow the reader to be moved.

There are a variety of different viewing modes. These include: black background with white text (high and low contrast), a white background with black text (high or low contrast) or a full colour display. The freeze frame feature allows you to take a snapshot of the item you are looking at, and then zoom in or out.

The mouse magnifier is supplied with a carry pouch, connection cables and mains adapter.

To view more information about these Assistive Devices and others, view the menu on the left or feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions about the products and Services listed on this page and we will point you in the right direction.


There are a variety of different types of C-Pens that are available for persons who have Visual Impairments or who are unable to read. Some of these products are available in South Africa from Companies such as Edit Microsystems and include the following products:

The C-Pen Exam Reader Class Pack: The C-Pen Exam Reader pen scanner is a major technological breakthrough for customers wanting to read English, Spanish, French, Italian, or German exam questions. The C-Pen Exam Reader is a portable, pocket-sized device that reads text aloud with an English, Spanish, French, Italian and German human-like digital voice. This product contains 10 pens, 10 headsets and 10 USB cables all in a smart case. This brief case is designed for easy storage and safety when transporting around the school premises. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or to receive a quote.

C-Pen Reader Class Pack: The C-Pen Reader Class Pack has a case which contains 10 pens, 10 headsets and 10 USB cables all in a smart case. The case only has space for seven USB cables and is designed for easy storage and safety when transporting around the school premises. The C-Pen Reader itself is a pen scanner which is a major technological breakthrough for anyone learning English, Spanish or French. It is a life-saver for those who suffer from reading difficulties such as dyslexia. The C-Pen Reader is a portable, pocket-sized device that reads text aloud with an English, Spanish or French human-like digital voice. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or to receive a quote.


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