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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 September 2002 Issue  Volume 3  Number 5

Access World News

Screen Magnifiers with Speech

AiSquared recently released the newest version of its screen magnifier with speech, ZoomText 7.1. The 7.1 version features CompatibilityOne, which offers support for all Windows operating systems, including Windows XP, ME, 2000, NT 4.0, 98, and 95. ZoomText 7.1 includes IBM's ViaVoice speech synthesizer, which includes French, French Canadian, German, Italian, Spanish, Finnish, and Portugese. A command interface for Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional is also included so Naturally Speaking users can control ZoomText with voice commands. The new version of ZoomText is designed to magnify, track, and speak Java applications that are compatible with Java Access Bridge. The cost of ZoomText 7.1 ranges from $395 to $595, and upgrades range from $50 to $195. For more information, contact: AiSquared; phone: 802-362-3612; fax: 802-362-1670; e-mail: <sales@aisquared.com>.

MAGic 8.0 is the new release of Freedom Scientific's screen magnifier with speech. The new version supports Windows XP Home or Professional versions and an English download is currently available at <www.freedomscientific.com/fs_downloads/magic.asp> for authorized users. The MAGic 8.0 software is designed to magnify information on a computer screen, from two to 16 times its normal size. MAGic 8.0 is designed to communicate directly with JAWS for Windows version 3.71 or higher, making user intervention unnecessary. New features of version 8.0 include: a talking, large-print installation wizard; a new user interface with color-coded buttons and menus; a MAGic Key feature, which is designed to simplify hot key functions; and advanced navigation and view options. A version of MAGic 8.0 without speech is also available. Prices for MAGic 8.0 range from $595 to $295. For more information, contact: Freedom Scientific; phone: 800-444-4443 or 727-803-8000; e-mail: <info@freedomscientific.com>.

Ergonomic CCTV Magnifier

ERGO is a closed-circuit television (CCTV) reading machine that is designed ergonomically so that it may be adjusted for safe, efficient use by people with a variety of needs. The CCTV features magnification of 1.7-71X, a reading table that can be moved in four directions, and an adjustable monitor stand. The CCTV comes with a color or black-and-white monitor in rolling-stand or table-top models. ERGO is manufactured by Rehan Electronics and is distributed in the United States by Access Ingenuity. The ERGO with color monitor costs $2,995; the black-and-white version costs $2,295. For more information, contact: Access Ingenuity, 3635 Montgomery Dr., Santa Rosa, CA 95405; phone 877-579-4380; fax: 707-579-4273; e-mail: <access@accessingenuity.com>; web site: <www.accessingenuity.com>.

Computer Combined with a Note-Taker

Beyond Sight recently released Visionary LapTalk, a screenless laptop computer with an integrated text-to-speech application. LapTalk operates in a purely Windows environment and has 256 megabytes of RAM and 20 gigabytes of storage, compared to an average notetaker's 16 megabytes of memory shared between RAM and storage. The computer is equipped with a Window-Eyes screen reader, Windows XP, a modem and network port, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications. LapTalk weighs 2.6 pounds and is 11 in × 9 in × 1 in. Visionary DeskTalk is the nonportable version of LapTalk. The price for LapTalk is $1,995; DeskTalk costs $1,095. For more information, contact: Beyond Sight; phone: 303-795-6455; e-mail: <bsistore@beyondsight.com>; web site: <www.beyondsight.com/laptalk_&_desktalk.htm>.

Assistive Technology Training Materials

De Witt and Associates, a New Jersey-based training firm that specializes in the use of computers and assistive technology for people who are blind or visually impaired, has developed a series of training tools for teaching Microsoft Office applications using JAWS for Windows, Window-Eyes, ZoomText, and MAGic. Courseware For Assistive Technology Trainers is designed to provide tools for training people how to use assistive technology. Course materials are currently available for the following applications: Microsoft Word, Excel, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and Windows Concepts. Course materials for PowerPoint and IBM's Home Page Reader will be available in the future. Each set of materials contains: lesson objectives and instructor's notes; a list of key terms and keystrokes; a step-by-step lesson plan; and assessment tools. The course materials include a print manual, an MS Word-formatted manual, and a CD-ROM that provides access to a trainer's web site for updates, tips from the field, and other comments or suggestions. For more information, contact: De Witt and Associates; phone: 877-447-6500 or 201-447-6500; e-mail: <sbb32@dewittassociates.net>.

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