Turn iPad 3 into CCTV with EyeSight App
Powerful and portable magnification is essential technology for persons with visual impairments.
The ability to read text anywhere — whether it’s bills, newspapers, prescriptions, recipes, subway maps, or on airport monitors — is a crucial component of independent living.
Traditional options range from glass lenses to desktop video magnifiers that can cost $2,500 or more. In between, are handheld CCTVs — such as Enhanced Vision’s Pebble — that use video cameras to enlarge text and images.
The popularity of Apple’s iPhone and iPad among blind and visually impaired users has led to a third option: magnification apps that use the iOS device’s built-in camera and processor to provide on-the-spot enlarging.
AFB AccessWorld® Magazine
Can the iPad and an App Replace Electronic Magnifiers (CCTVs)? An Evaluation of SightTech’s EyeSight App
With the latest iPad release in March 2012 (simply dubbed “the new iPad”), Apple made significant upgrades to the previously released iPad 2. These enhancements to the new iPad provide app developers the opportunity to expand the capabilities of apps. Some of the more noteworthy improvements on the latest iPad include a more powerful processor, twice as much RAM (1 GB), a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera (previously only equipped with a 0.7-megapixel camera), and a high resolution Retina display. United States-based SightTech is one company that is taking advantage of the iPad’s improved capabilities with its EyeSight app.
What is the EyeSight App?
If you break down an electronic video magnifier (CCTV) into its fundamental components, it consists of a camera, a screen that displays the image, and the ability to manipulate the image itself in a variety of ways. For all intents and purposes, the iPad already does this, but it just doesn’t do it well. EyeSight, currently available for download from the App Store for $29.99, makes use of the new iPad’s more powerful rear-facing camera, its increased processing speed, and enhanced image quality. The app’s capabilities are intrinsic to the new iPad’s architecture and design, and the iPad, therefore, needs to be taken into consideration when evaluating this app.
Will Mobile Magnification Apps Replace Portable CCTVs?
For years, visually impaired readers have used video magnifiers to enlarge text and graphics to make them easier to see.
Early desktop CCTVs were heavy and expensive. Later devices, such as Enhanced Vision’s Pebble added portability, but remained too expensive for most users to purchase without help from a Special Education or Vocational Rehabilitation program.
Mobile apps now offer iPad and iPhone users high-tech magnification for hundreds — and sometimes thousands — less than what dedicated devices cost.