14 tech tools that enhance computing for the disabled

Getting work done on a computer is easily within reach of the blind and physically disabled with the help of these new and updated tools

Read it aloud: InfoScan TS Elite and Reader

Screen magnifiers and readers are great when you're using a computer, but doing business also means reading off-screen materials such as memos, receipts and manuals. That's a real challenge for people with failing eyesight.

WizCom Technologies' InfoScan TS Elite scanning pen can help by scanning and storing printed material and reading it back to you. InfoScan TS glides over the page and can hold up to 500 pages of material internally that can be transferred to a computer via a USB cable for further work or editing. It has a built-in American Heritage Dictionary and can work with type that's between 6 and 22 points, in English, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish. The pen scanner costs about $150.

Another product that can help those with visual impairments when they're away from the computer is the Intel Reader. About the size and weight of a paperback book, this can enlarge the text on its 4.3-in. screen while a synthesized voice reads the material. The Reader can be loaded with material from a Windows PC or a Linux system (there's no Mac software at the moment) via a USB cable, or just aim the device's 5-megapixel camera at your document to enlarge and read spreadsheets, memos or pages from a report.

The Intel Reader has an Atom processor, stores up to about 600 pages and runs for about two hours on a charge. It costs $1,500; a dedicated scanner for capturing large amounts of text is available for an additional $400.

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