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Electronic Magnifier for Visually Impaired Mother or For Your Projects

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My partners mother has a worsening eye condition (Fuchs corneal dystrophy) that makes reading hard  She's been trying to find a decent solution and has tried a number of things.  Her iPad does a great job for digital publications but simple things like reading the paper can be frustrating.

In this instructable I'll be building a simple yet effective Electronic Magnifier.

To begin with, I already own a ClearView electronic magnifier.  I originally got it from our local tip which has a junk shop.  At the time I had no idea what it was for. What I really wanted from it was the carriage that moved the base around (X, Y Axis for small CNC).  When we got it home, I turned it on and was pretty excited to see what I had.  The LEDs that light up the base were only half working, so, considering that's all that was wrong with it I decided to fix it and use it for electronics and precision work rather than tear it apart.  I was also completely blown away by the price of these units.  They start at around $2000+ which makes them quite unaffordable for a lot of people.

We took the ClearView magnifier to my partners mother to have a look and see if she wanted it.  She pointed out a number of problems and this is where the build idea got started. The problems she pointed out were:
  • The ClearView is pretty heavy.  Made of a steel frame, its not easy to just set aside.
  • Its footprint is big, so keeping it on a table can be troublesome.
  • The ClearView model I have is an older version running on an old school analogue AV signal, so a regular monitor can't be used and CRT sets are bulky and again, heavy.
To fix these issues, what she needs is something thats light, can be removed with reasonable ease, doesn't need a lot of space and uses a signal that any modern monitor can handle (HDMI/DVI).

Build time for this version was around about 2 hours.

Parts and tools required:
  • Screw driver
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Self tapping screws
  • Pipes from a vacuum or large curtain rails or strong piping in general
  • Some form a stand or heavy duty clamps
  • Camcorder/zooming webcam/Camera with LiveView feature. Preferably a camera with some sort of Macro feature. (I used a 5 year old Sony Camcorder - one of the first 1080p's)
  • Tripod Head or something you can make an adjustable mount with.
  • appropriate cabling
  • Glue/Thermoplastic/Putty (I used thermoplastic)
  • Hacksaw
 
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anasdad1 year ago
Nice job! I'm going to put something like this together for my Dad.
Ken
JTomM1291 year ago
Thank you! My sister has the exact same problem with a magnifier platform that is big, heavy, and totally outdated (and of course in no way portable). This inspires me and I'm already looking at a standard cheap photo chest "monopod" with leg-adapters and a cheap point-and-shoot digital camera plugged into a already existing iPad as a basis for what you suggest. The chest monopod and DIY legs and small camera could fit into a soft small 3 inch diameter by 12 inch bag and supplement the iPad already in use. This posting really highlights how indeed unfortunate the "adaptive" device commercial market has been hijacked by the bloated health-care/insurance engine and that the offered devices are often 2 to 5 generations behind current technology and way, way over priced as "insurance scheduled" items. This is an excellent Instructable on how cut out many redundant non-responsive layers of middle men and use low price parts for a truly better, more useable, adaptable DIY device than the very crude one-size-fits-all medical delivery system has to offer. This is a major reason why this site exists as far as I am concerned. Thanks!!
benster (author)  JTomM1291 year ago
Thanks for taking the time to comment JTomM129! :)

I agree, the price of these aids are far too high and the one size fits all method for these sorts of aids isn't going to work for a lot of people. I guess there are a lot of considerations a company has to make, both to stay in business and also to profit. That being said, people should have access to these sorts of aids regardless of their wealth!

I'd love to see what you come up with. If you feel up to it, please post a photo. Every and any idea can lead to more practical solutions and expansions.

Ben.
atlgrip1 year ago
What a great idea! Thanks for sharing and posting a valuable instructable.
benster (author)  atlgrip1 year ago
Thanks atlgrip!