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It is interesting to know that a particular technology can serve more than one purpose. Take for instance the concept of closed-circuit televisions. Originally designed for surveillance and industrial processes, closed-circuit televisions or CCTVs have been proven to be useful for people with visual impairments.
Here, we will focus on how CCTVs can help visually impaired persons in carrying out daily reading tasks.
What is a Closed Circuit Television
In the context of assistive technology, a closed-circuit television is an electronic device used by persons with limited or low vision in reading printed text and viewing other forms of printed materials. It consists of two main components: a video camera and a TV screen. The primary function of a CCTV is to capture the image of an object and magnify that image in order for the user to view it properly.
How Does a CCTV Work
The user has to focus the CCTV’s video camera on the object he wishes to magnify. Typical examples of objects include pictures, money, textbooks, and other printed media. Once the focus has been set, the CCTV’s screen will project an image of the object. The user can then adjust the rate of magnification in which the image is projected. The rate of magnification of CCTVs ranges from 2x to around 45x.
The first CCTV products consisted of screens and cameras that need to be placed on tables. This prevented users from being able to magnify objects anywhere. To solve this problem, providers of assistive technologies have designed portable CCTVs.
These devices generally way only a few ounces and can fit in most pockets or bags. Using portable CCTVs, low vision individuals can read menus in restaurants, read price tags of products in stores, view paintings in art galleries, and perform other outdoor reading activities.
Additional Features of CCTVs
Certain types of CCTVs enable the user to have a colored line under the text which is currently being read. This makes it easier for users to stay focused while reading text.
Adjustable Color Modes
This lets users modify the color of the image being projected. Adjustable color modes are helpful in an event where the user is more comfortable in reading lighter text in a dark background.
Snapshot Storing Capability
CCTVs can also capture snapshots of images and store them via built-in memory. This allows users to view images of objects at a latter time.