Blind World Magazine

United Kingdom.
monitors used to help create reading station.

January 9, 2006.
IT Backbones (press release) - Emborough,Somerset,UK.

Press Release.

3M Touch Systems monitors have been used to create an award winning reading station for the visually impaired, and other groups with reading difficulties.

Silvercreations Software AG and Tagarno A.S have chosen the 3M M170 MicroTouch (TM ) touch monitor as the interface for their LiveReader (TM ) reading station, that helps people who are unable to read or understand material presented in text format, to benefit from otherwise inaccessible information. These include people with impaired vision, as well as dyslexics, non-native speakers, those with low literacy, and other groups who have reading difficulties. LiveReader's developers cited the superior performance of 3M's MicroTouch capacitive touch sensor technology, and in-depth technical support as the major reasons for choosing MicroTouch.

Large, clearly visible buttons displayed on the screen enable the user to quickly and easily navigate the LiveReader menus using the MicroTouch touch monitor. The user then puts the document to be read or edited under an integrated digital camera. The system then scans and processes the text within seconds and reads the words to the user.

Patrick Hoffmann, Marketing Manager of Silvercreations Software said, "High contrast quality and readability are the most important features for visually impaired people, and the M170 delivered the best performance in each respect. The accuracy of MicroTouch, as well as its short reaction times, also enhance the performance and usability of LiveReader."

Nick Hughes, European Marketing Executive for Monitors at 3M Touch Systems, said, "LiveReader provides an excellent example of how to design for touchscreen. The creators have intelligently combined good touchscreen design principles with their own insights into the needs of their target market, and have also exploited the properties of large screen sizes and graphical software capabilities to maximise the effectiveness of touch-driven computing."

Examples of design features optimised for use with touchscreen technology include large and easy to understand symbols, which help the visually impaired or people with other reading difficulties to make use of all the system functions. Silvercreations Software and Tagarno have also implemented features supporting easy on-screen instruction entry, reader-friendliness, and uncomplicated, intuitive, easy to recognise user guidance.

The MicroTouch monitor allows users to adjust controls such as contrast, colour settings and font size using just a few finger touches, allowing users to quickly and easily set-up LiveReader to meet their needs. For example, some visually impaired people prefer white text on a black background, and this can be easily set-up using the touchscreen.

LiveReader has won awards for its contribution to inclusiveness. Potential applications include workplaces, allowing visually impaired workers to realise their full potential, or in education for adults or children. Here, the easy controls, engaging appearance and rapid progress create an effective motivator for learning. Further possible application areas are public institutions, particularly those responsible for enabling migrants, who can speak the host language but cannot read it, to access information and get help with official forms. Other groups likely to benefit by using LiveReader include dyslexic students, who would otherwise suffer restrictions in their studies, as well as those who experience trouble with tired or irritated eyes when reading for long periods.

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