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Ask Slashdot: Best Webcam To Augment Impaired Vision? 63

mynamestolen writes "In order to read paper-based books many visually impaired people want to attach a webcam to a computer and attach the computer to a TV. Some Electronic Magnifiers are purpose-built to provide a similar solution. Different organisations around the world (such as in the UK) have help pages. But I have not been able to find a guide to set up my own system. So I'm asking Slashdot readers how to go about it. What is the best camera to use if I want to hold the camera in my hand and point it at book or magazine? What parameters should I adjust, either in the software or on the camera? Depth of view, refresh rates, contrast, color balance and resolution might be key problems. My system is Linux and getting drivers for a good camera might also be a problem."
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Ask Slashdot: Best Webcam To Augment Impaired Vision?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:11PM (#42659095)

    I use a mix of platforms but for Windows where things are especially bad, I use a Logitech C610 (with and without a stand) combined with a product called ZoomText (version 10 has built-in CCTV functionality now).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:17PM (#42659181)

    Instead of hacking together your own solution, look for non-certified ones online. My grandmother got one for $20-30, i don't remember how much exactly, that she can use in the reading stand that was included or use with her hand (which, unless you have really steady hands, is a bad idea). It is fully adjustable in terms of DoF, zoom, etc. and can even invert colors with the flip of a switch. The real bonus is that it attaches directly to either the TV or the computer. Its so easy, she even takes it to other people's homes.

    Another piece of advice, try to have an HD screen that has a proper white and black level and good contrast. According to her, it makes a world of difference compared to her old tv that was 30 years old..

  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Tuesday January 22, 2013 @02:21PM (#42659241)

    Machines have been around for ages that you can use to read a book on a large screen with different levels of magnification, it has a tray that you can move around easily and it has a small CCD camera hooked up to a TV screen.

    When I was in school in the 80s I used a VisualTech CCD magnifier, in fact they're still around: []

    However since most of us have computers these days it's hard to justify having such a bulky device around for books.

    So what are the options:
    1. Get eBooks and zoom in to your hearts content
    (problem: not all books are available in eBook form)
    2. Get large print copy of the book you want to read
    (problem: same as above, enlargement might be impractical or unavailable [your library mileage may vary])
    3. Get a stand alone magnifier device for yer book readin'
    (compatible with most books and sidesteps copyright issues)

    I can see how people think that computer + webcam + tray = book reader, so I'm interested to see if anyone out there in candyland has found a good setup for this.

    But yes, this is a thing that visually impaired people have to deal with that so far only seems to have been solved by a handful of companies.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong