
Brief overview of GMU Assistive Technology
Initiative

Free & low cost AT tools for students with low
vision and blindness

AT solutions for the classroom that go beyond
individual needs

Question & Answer
Our mission is to help provide individuals with
disabilities an accessible university environment by
supporting access to all technological, architectural,
and educational resources available at George
Mason University through the incorporation of
assistive technologies, the provision of technical
support, and the development of university-wide
strategies for universal access.
Informal Assistive Technology Assessments
2. Provision of Accessible Text Services
3. Assistive Technology Labs
4. Technical Assistance for ITU and Library personnel
Technical
Informal
Provision
Assistive
Section
on
AT-related
issues
Assistance
for
Assistive
of
Technology
508/Web
ITU
and
Technology
Accessible
Labs
Accessibility
Library
5.Assessments
Section 508/Web
Accessibility
Training
and
Text
Training and
personnel on
Support
Support Services
AT-related
1.
issues
ATI Partnerships 
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Office of
Disability
Services
Office of Disability Services
Equity Office
Information Technology Unit
University Libraries
ATI
Kellar Institute
Environmental
OLLI Health & Safety
Learning Services
OLLI
Learning
Services
EHS
Equity
Office
ITU
University
Libraries
Kellar
Institute
Office of Disability Services
• Accessible Text Services for Students
• AT Assessments/Training for Students
• Community Outreach
Equity Office
• Accessible Text Services for Staff/Faculty
• AT Assessments/Training for Staff/Faculty
• University-Wide Training Initiatives
University Libraries
• AT Labs
• Training & Consultation
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Screen Enlarging Software
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Screen Reading Software
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ZoomText Xtra
JAWS for Windows
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
Optical Character Recognition
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Scan & Read Pro
WYNN
Photos taken from http://www.wisconsinlowvision.com/Topazpage.html.
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Dry Erase Board/Writing pad
TTY/TDD – Text Telephone Device for the Deaf
 NexTalk Workplace
 http://www.nextalk.com/products/workplace
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Assistive Listening Devices
 ComTek Wireless (FM)
 Area-wide/Personal
 http://www.comtek.com/assistive.html
 SoundChoice (IR)
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DocSoft (captioning)
iCommunicator – Voice recognition software with signing
capabilities
 http://www.myicommunicator.com/
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmDVEvJYQV4

Document Reading/Writing/Scanning
 WYNN Wizard/Reader
 Premier Accessibility Suite
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Voice Recognition
 Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional
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Adapted/Alternative Keyboards & Mice
 Microsoft Natural Keyboard
 Type Matrix keyboard
 Trackball Mice
 Large Print keyboards
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Voice Recognition
 Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional
Photos taken from
http://www.infogrip.com/product_view.asp?RecordNumber=12. .
Libraries (JC, Arlington (O/L), Mercer)
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WYNN Wizard
JAWS for Windows
ZoomText Xtra (http://www.aisquared.com/index.cfm)
Premier Accessibility Suite (http://www.readingmadeez.com)
Dragon Naturally Speaking
CCTV
Helen Kellar Institute AT Lab
 Training & Demonstration
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EdWord
 Free talking word processor
 Allows for multiple users and
different levels of learning
 http://www.deafblindonline.org.uk
 Pros
 Free
 Manual, Email support
 Speech follows keyboard and
Mouse cursor
 Basic word-processing
 Multiple users, Different levels
 Cons
 No voicing through start-up menu (use Narrator)
Photo taken from http://www.deafblindonline.org.uk.
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WordTalk
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Free text-to-speech plug-in for MS Word
Talking Spell Check with Synonym list/replace function
Hotkeys support (must be enabled from configuration menu)
Word tracking /highlighting
http://www.wordtalk.co.uk/Home/
 Pros
 Free
 A lot of support (email, FAQ, documentation)
 Works within MS Word 2000, XP, 2003, 2007
 Cons
 Designed more for individuals with LD as opposed to vision loss
Photo taken from http://www.wordtalk.co.uk/Home/.

Desktop Zoom v3.4
 Free screen magnification tool
 Includes speech access (mouseover)
 http://users.telenet.be/littlegems/M
ySoft/DesktopZoom/Index.html
 Pros
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Free
Speech support
Full access to computer system
Smoothing, some mouse cursor
manipulation
 Cons
 Vista support with Aero turned
off
Photo taken from http://users.telenet.be/littlegems/MySoft/DesktopZoom/Index.html
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Virtual Magnifying Glass
 Free screen magnification tool
 Works with both Mac OS and
Windows
 Can run off of a thumb drive,
provides access at any workstation
 http://magnifier.sourceforge.net/
 Pros
 Free
 Full access to computer system
 No mouse in magnifier view
 Cons
 No speech
 No mouse in magnifier view
Photo taken from http://magnifier.sourceforge.net/.
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Magnification within Mac OS X
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Included in every version of Mac OS X
Compatibility with over 100 different applications
Screen magnification, high-contrast settings
Smoothing settings
Focus feature
Features for users with low vision
& blindness (captioning, Braille support, etc)
 Pros
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Free, comes with Mac OS X
Combine with VoiceOver for Reader/Magnifier solution
Only pay for computer system
Very few keystrokes to learn
 Cons
 No phone-based technical support/user’s forums/email
Photo taken from http://atmac.org/voiceover-for-sighted-users/.
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VoiceOver in Mac OS X 10.5
 Free screen reading application
included in every version of Mac OS X
 Compatibility with over 100 different applications
 Clear responsive speech, lots
of customization
 Features for users with low vision
& blindness (focus tool, captioning, Braille support)
 Pros
 Free, comes with Mac OS X
 Great deal of customization
 Mac Editor fully supported, spell checking/advanced formatting
 Cons
 Learning curve for Windows screen-reader users
 No phone-based technical support
Photo taken from http://atmac.org/voiceover-for-sighted-users/.
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Thunder Screen Reader
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Free screen-reading application
Developed by Sensory Software Ltd.
http://www.screenreader.net
http://www.screenreader4free.eu/download.html#thunder
(available in other languages…German, French, Italian, etc.)
 Pros
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Free
Help manuals, Email support
Basic word-processing, email, and Internet access
Can run from USB
 Cons
 Free
 intermittent crashes/freezes
Photo taken from http://www.screenreader.net.
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System Access To Go
 Free web-resident version of System Access screen reader
 http://www.satogo.com
 Also visit, http://www.serotek.com for standalone and mobile
versions of System Access. Standalone and Mobile versions
inexpensive compared to Jaws/WindowEyes (~$1200). $399 and
$449, respectively.
 Offers full access to computer system after installation of plug-in.
 Pros
 Free
 Very responsive
 Works on virtually any machine connected to Internet
 No longer required to purchase SMAs for paid versions; upgrades
and updates are free
 Cons
 Must be connected to Internet
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Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA)
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Open source screen reading application
Developed by two blind developers
http://www.nvda-project.org
Offers full access to computer system – word processing, email, Internet access
 Pros
 Free
 Has been around for 3-4 years and it continues to gain support
 Online documentation, email support
 Keyboard help feature
 Supports Refreshable Braille displays
 Partnership with Mozilla Foundation (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.)
 Can run from USB
 Cons
 Open-source, which means that it may not always work as intended
 Weak support for IE at this time
 Slow growth
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WebAnywhere
 Non-visual interface to web that requires no software or downloads.
 Enables individuals with blindness and low vision to access the web with speech
from any workstation with access to Internet.
 http://wa.cs.washington.edu
 YouTube video demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfjD06aOxts
 Pros
 Free
 Easy to use
 Works on virtually any machine (PC or Mac) connected to Internet
 Cons
 Slow
 Still an alpha release
 Digitized voice synthesizer cannot be changed

WebbIE Web Browser
 Web browser for individuals with
blindness and low vision
 Comes with the accessible programs,
letting you access news and audio on
the Internet in a simple and accessible
way, allowing you to use podcasts,
listen to the radio (all over world) and
read RSS and news with your screen
reader or other access solution.
 http://www.webbie.org.uk
 Pros
 Free
 Phone, Email support
 Some low vision support as well
 Other apps (accessible radio player,
PDF reader, podcast app, etc.)
 Cons
 Must switch to IE for images
Photos taken from http://www.webbie.org.uk.
Firefox Browser – N-Abled Web
Accessibility Toolbar Add-on
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 Mozilla browser toolbar extension
 Allows for background color and font size changes
 Mouseover text-to-speech can be activated by clicking speaker
button
 http://www.nabled.co.uk/
 Pros
 Free
 Designed for individuals with low vision
 Cons
 Speech announces everything under
cursor
Photo taken from http://www.nabled.co.uk/
IE/Firefox/Opera/Google Chrome Web
Browsers – Zoom feature
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 Resizes entire web page including images
and layout, not just text
 Pros
 Built into most web browsers
 Designed for individuals with low vision
 Access at virtually any computer (PC or Mac)
 Cons
 Some browsers do not have word wrap feature
 No speech
Photo taken from http://mozillalinks.org/wp/2008/06/tweak-firefox-3-full-page-zoom/.

Firefox Browser – GlaZoom Add-on
 Accessibility tool allowing the user to right-click on a block
of text or image and adapt the full-zoom factor so the
whole block/image fits into the browser's viewport
 Works by right-clicking on element and selecting “Zoom
on Element”
 Pros
 Free, Add-on to Firefox browser
 Designed for individuals with low vision
 Depending on set up, access at virtually any Windows computer
 Cons
 Mozilla Firefox needs to be installed
and updated on system
Firefox Browser v3.0 –
MozBraille
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 It is an extension to transform Mozilla or
Firefox to a stand alone accessible Internet
browser designed for blind or partially sighted
users .
 Don’t need a screenreader, offers three
displays of output:
 A Braille output on a Braille terminal
 A text to speech output
 A big characters view
 MozBraille is a part of the VICKIE project. The
main goal of this project is to create an
electronic school bag for visually impaired
children. So the main output is the Braille and
the less important is the text to speech
because students have to listen their teacher.
Photo taken from http://mozbraille.mozdev.org/.
Firefox Browser v3.0 –
MozBraille

 Pros
 Free
 Supports SAPI 5 speech and over 30 Braille
displays
 “Fake “ Terminal for developers/teachers
 Manages caret movements and selection
on the Braille view
 Cons
 Beta version – software cannot be used
alone at this time
 Promising start, but a long way to go
Photo taken from http://mozbraille.mozdev.org/.
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Text Cloner Pro
 Scanning package designed to work
with user’s existing screen reader
(i.e. Jaws, WindowEyes, ZT)
 Less than $100
 http://www.readingmadeez.com/pr
oducts/TextClonerPro.html
 Pros
 Low cost
 Student can use their own screen
reader to access scanned documents
 Supports multiple languages
 Recognizes columns
 Works with ADFs
 Basic word processing
 Output in MS Word or RTF formats
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Scan & Read Pro
 Less than $150
 http://www.readingmadeez.com/p
roducts/ScanReadPro.html
 Pros
 Low cost
 Low vision features (Zoom, word
tracking)
 Supports multiple languages
 Can create audio files (*.mp3)
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Louis – Mac Braille Translator
 Full-featured Braille translator for Apple Macintosh
 Full Mac GUI with VoiceOver.
 Full online and local documentation.
 Translation of MS Word, text, XML, HTML DocBook, DAISY/NIMAS, NewsML,
rtf.
 Ability to learn new XML based formats.
 Support for a wide range of languages.
 Support for MathML to nemeth translation.
 http://w3.wmcnet.org/braille/louis/
 Pros
 Free
 Online support
 Compatible with VoiceOver
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HTML2Braille Online
 Converts English web
pages to English Grade 2
Braille
 User inserts URL, name of file, 2
checkboxes (show links as
footnotes, no output for images
without alt tags)
 File is saved as .brl
 Pros
 Free service
 Also a html2Braille Mac OSX version,
http://w3.wmcnet.org/braille/html2b
raille/html2braille.php
Photo taken from http://w3.wmcnet.org/braille/html2braille/html2braille.php.
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Perky Duck
 Simple Braille Editor
 Free
 http://www.duxburysystems.com/p
roducts.asp#freeware
 Pros
 Free
 Easy to use. Good building block
application for Duxbury.
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QuickTac
 Simple Braille Graphics software
 http://www.duxburysystems.com/
products.asp#freeware
 Pros
 Free
 Can create simple shapes and
designs
 Images can be imported into Dux
10.7 and MegaDots
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WinBraille
 WinBraille translates, formats and automatically adjusts your text
for your braille embosser. Supports contracted and uncontracted
braille in more than 40 languages.
 Free to use with Index Braille Embosser
 Handles many file types - MS Office, PDF, email
 Also supports structured documents in WinBraille Pro; tables,
adjustable line spacing, hyphenation, Braille Mathematics using MS
Equation Editor, Header/Footer, Bullet lists, Tactile graphics 0.5 mm
resolution (coming in May 2009)
 Pros
 Free
 User-friendly
 iBraille, Mac version
 Cons
 Costly, if you do not have an Index Embosser
 Structured document support (Pro version)
Photo taken from http://w3.wmcnet.org/braille/html2braille/html2braille.php.
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MS “Save as DAISY” Plug-In (Authoring Tool)
 Plug-in allows the user to create DAISY DTBooks from MS Word documents.
You can select to generate the DAISY XML for further processing, or you can
generate a fully conforming DAISY file set with full navigation and full text
synchronized with audio.
 The audio is generated by the default text-to-speech (TTS) engine on your
Windows computer.
 Pros
 Free
 Allows the user to create their own DAISY DTBook out of one document
or several documents
 Very easy to use
 Can manage abbreviations/acronyms
 Cons
 Confusing, creates DAISY v2.02 file and a v3.0 file
 Not much information on which players to use
Photo taken from http://www.daisy.org/projects/save-as-daisy-microsoft/.
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“AMIS” DAISY Player
 ‘AMIS’ stands for Adaptive Multimedia Information System
 AMIS is a software program that you can use to read DAISY books. It is selfvoicing, meaning that no specialized screen-reading software is needed in
order for it to be used by visually impaired people.
 AMIS is open source software and is provided free of charge.
 http://www.daisy.org/projects/amis/
 Pros
 Works with Jaws, WindowEyes, Hal and Supernova screen readers
 Supports several formats: DAISY 2.02, DAISY/NISO 2005, Full text + full
audio, Audio + NCX, Text-only
 Several languages (Chinese, French, Norwegian, etc.)
 Actively supported (latest update is May 2009)
 Easy to use
 Bookmarking capability
 High Contrast settings
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Premier Accessibility Suite
 Offer free education grants. Free for first year, maintenance costs
each additional year.
 Collection of reading and writing tools
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E-text reader (low vision)
Talking Calculator
Talking Dictionary
Talking Word Processor
Scan & Read Pro
Etc….
 http://www.readingmadeez.com
 Premier AT Home
 Student has access to same tools at home as at school
 Cost: $399.95 for entire suite if purchased individually
Photo taken from http://www.readingmadeez.com.
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Zoom-Twix (low vision)
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Portable CCTV/Scanning solution
Software has its own speech synthesizer
Scans multiple languages
Purchase one or two units for a school
system and several software licenses (5-10).
Use the device to quickly scan textbooks,
testing materials, etc to provide to students
in text, LP, electronic formats
 Distance camera allows students to follow
along on whiteboard, take snapshots of
whiteboard and save them to computer for
review later
 http://www.abisee.com
 Pros
 Weighs 1 lb, easy to transport
 Base is 8.5” x 11”
 Cons
 Cost: $2500-$2800 per unit + software
licenses
Photo taken from http://www.abisee.com.

LiveScribe Pulse Pen
 Smartpen records and links audio to what you write, so
you never miss a word during lectures or meetings.
 Pen can be docked to computer and notes
downloaded to computer (“LiveScribe Desktop”)
 http://www.livescribe.com
 MyScript software converts handwritten notes into
digital text
 Possible solution for note-takers…audio and digital
notes could be made available to students with low
vision and blindness
 Pros
 1GB and 2 GB models
 Paper can now be printed on LaserJet printers
 Cost: $150 (1GB), $200 (2GB)
 Cons
 Not for everyone, will only benefit certain students
 Using note-takers still only solution for blind
students with this solution
Photo taken from http://www.livescribe.com.
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http://www.abisee.com, Zoom-Twix CCTV
http://www.readingmadeez.com, Premier Accessibility Suite &
http://www.readingmadeez.com/education/grant.html, Premier free education grant
http://www.livescribe.com, Livescribe Pulse Pen
http://www.duxburysystems.com/products.asp#freeware, Duxbury Systems freeware
http://w3.wmcnet.org/braille/html2braille/html2braille.php, html2Braille online
http://w3.wmcnet.org/braille/louis/, Louis Mac Braille Translator
http://www.readingmadeez.com/products/TextClonerPro.html, Text Cloner Pro
http://www.readingmadeez.com/products/ScanandReadPro.html, Scan & Read Pro
http://mozillalinks.org/wp/2008/06/tweak-firefox-3-full-page-zoom, Firefox Browser Full
Page Zoom
http://www.nabled.co.uk/, Firefox Browser – N-Abled Web Accessibility Toolbar
http://www.webbie.org.uk, WebbIE browser
http://wa.cs.washington.edu, WebAnywhere
http://www.nvda-project.org, Non Visual Desktop Access
http://atmac.org/voiceover-for-sighted-users/, VoiceOver for Mac OSX
http://www.satogo.com, System Access To Go
http://www.screenreader.net, Thunder Screenreader
http://users.telenet.be/littlegems/MySoft/DesktopZoom/Index.html, Desktop Zoom
http://www.issist.ca, iZoom screen magnification
http://www.deafblindonline.org.uk, EdWord software
http://mozillalinks.org/wp/2008/06/tweak-firefox-3-full-page-zoom/, Glazoom
http://www.daisy.org/projects/amis/ , AMIS DAISY Player
http://www.daisy.org/projects/save-as-daisy-microsoft/, Microsoft
“Save As DAISY” plug-in.
Korey Singleton
Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI) Manager
George Mason University
Office Phone: 703-993-2143
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: http://ati.gmu.edu
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