Digital Pocket Magnifier for Visually Impaired Students
In an effort to promote a more inclusive learning experience for visually impaired students at UKZN, the Disability Support Unit (DSU) has procured Humanware’s Explore 5 pocket-sized video magnifier.
A pocket-sized digital magnifier possessing superior image quality, the hardware will assist students with their spot reading needs, the navigating of daily tasks, and enhance their academic experience when engaging with print material.
The Explore 5 is one of the smallest and lightest five-inch video magnifiers of its kind on the market. It is ideal for spot reading and features high-definition imaging with precise autofocus for up to 22X magnification, plus over 18 enhancement modes to meet individuals’ specific needs. Equipped with a high-performance lithium-ion built-in battery, similar to those utilised in modern mobile phones, the device is versatile and ideal for students requiring a device ready to use on the go. Offering seamless variable magnification and customisable reading contrast, it is ideal for use in a wide range of daily activities. For reading documents, whether standing, reclining in a chair, or sitting at a desk, the device delivers sharp and clear images at the users’ fingertips. With large, bright buttons, the device is perfect for magnifying small print, such as when a student needs to read product and prescription labels. Its portability and ergonomic design makes it an ideal portable companion even beyond the classroom setting.
Through the generous funding of Health Care International, secured by fundraising efforts of the UKZN Foundation, the DSU was able to procure 10 of these premium devices, which normally retail for about R8 000.
DSU Independence trainers, Mrs Margie Naidoo (Durban campuses) and Mr Derrick Munyai (Pietermaritzburg campus) distributed the devices to three students on the Howard College campus, two students on the Edgewood campus, two students on the Westville campus, and three students on the Pietermaritzburg campus. They also provided initial orientation and guidance on the operation of the device.
Ms Nosipho Ntuli, a first-year Bachelor of Social Science student based on the Howard College campus, said: ‘The magnifier I received has really helped me a lot. It is easy for me to read, especially while working on my laptop and computer because I am able to connect it to my computer and enlarge documents, change it to a colour scheme that is less harsh for my eyes and while text can appear pixelated at times, the device allows one to smooth the edges and make it easier to read. The fact that I can even save photos of my readings on the device and apply a custom colour scheme whenever necessary is incredibly brilliant.’
Mr Philani Sithole, a second-year Bachelor of Social Science student based on the Pietermaritzburg campus added: ‘I am really thankful for receiving this device. It is helping me to read many things I was unable to such as textbooks with small print, price tags, receipts from stores and airtime vouchers.’
Certainly, the device will benefit students significantly and holistically by enhancing their independence and equitable access to information.
Words: Ashley Subbiah