PATF partners with VisionCorps to award small grants in conjunction with Mini-Loans
PATF recently received a grant from
to be used specifically to award small grants in conjunction with Mini-Loans to Pennsylvanians who are blind or low-vision to get the assistive technology (AT) they want and need. The amount of the grant depends on the cost of the device and can range from $50-$500. We're grateful to VisionCorps, and look forward to spreading the word about the difference AT can make.
So what kind of AT falls in the Mini-Loan category and might be useful to someone who is blind or low-vision? Here are a few ideas:
- Smart phone or tablet - These everyday devices offer a world of possibilities. Accessibility features provide text-to-speech software, magnifying capability through the camera lens, and more. Apps can use your phone's camera to identify bill denominations, read text on labels, connect you to sighted volunteers who can direct you down the street, and more.
- Smart home devices - The voice-based interface of the Amazon Echo makes it easy to get information (use Google, ask the weather, listen to the news) and communicate through text and phone without any touchscreens involved. Examples include Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod.
- Refreshable braille displays - These tablet-sized devices range in price as well as features. Typically able to connect to a computer or tablet and allow the user to read contents of a display one line at a time in braille. Some can be used with a braille keyboard, allowing full operation of a computer, others can be used in conjunction with dictation and voice recognition technology. Examples include the Orbit Reader and the HumanWare Brailliant BI14 braille display.
- DotWatch - Tell the time and get alerts from your smart phone silently with this smart watch that features a braille display.
- Book readers - Book reading devices offer a range of other funtionalities as well, some including optical character recognition so you can read menus and other printed materials on the spot, while others include GPS technology. Examples include the Victor Reader Trek from Humanware and the Blaze EZ from HIMS.
These are just a few examples of technology that could be paid for with a Mini-Loan that may benefit you if you're blind or have low vision.
Note: PATF does not endorse specific products, and we encourage assistive technology users to research the best technology solution for your wants, needs and situation.