Mayday Post

this may or may not be a design blog

Not An Infomercial(?): It’s TOPAZ-tastic!

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Since my dad does a lot of academic writing, it was sad for my family and frustrating for him as he lost much of his vision over the past few years. He had to abandon work on a couple of books, and couldn‘t keep reading others. Instead of giving up, he took to the streets and bought his favorite new toy: a TOPAZ desktop video magnifier. 

Reviews of equipment like this are difficult to find.  The only review I could gather that didn’t reek of  propaganda was online courtesy of the Dr. Bill Takeshita Foundation:

The Topaz provided the widest field of view of any video magnifier we tested and it also has the largest working space between the camera and the X-Y table, a very important factor for people who will use the Topaz to write or to repair items. We wish the Topaz came standard with the ability to connect to a computer to share the same monitor for both the computer and the Topaz. Freedom Scientific has an optional computer connectivity module that easily plugs into the Topaz to allow users to connect their computer to the Topaz for $300. In summary, the Topaz is a very versatile video magnifier that works very well for reading, writing, and repair-work. 

Woah, Dr. Takeshita, let’s not get too greedy. Seems like it performs its essential function (magnification of text and display) decently, and I can attest to that, having used it (and my dad likes it too): the camera that zooms into the page and displays the text onto a large LCD screen. Another interesting feature is the color toggle: you change the display to show bright yellow text over black pages. It was very disturbing to see all of my assumptions of what a reading experience is shattered as I followed the text from side to side with the camera, simulating the movement of the eye and displaying bright text on a screen. 

Though this technology has a limited demographic, I wonder if it has any other applications. If not, at least someone is getting some use out of it. And don’t take your eye muscles for granted, people!


Written by Wegener

March 16, 2009 at 1:35 am

Posted in The Future

Tagged with ,

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