My dear mother (in her 80s) was diagnosed a few years ago with Macular Degeneration which, in short, causes "loss of central vision (which) can make it hard to recognize faces, drive, read, or perform other activities of daily life".

As she was getting bored listening to the radio all day and not being able to read practically anything herself unless it was written in large (1"/2.5cm) letters, I had the idea of making her a "reading aid" with the use of a USB "Borehole Camera" I had found on eBay and my Acer Netbook which is practically unused for anything these days..

Some of you will be able to see from the photos how it's made and won't need any more description but just to make this a complete 'able, I'll add some details and some notes about the dimensions.

Please let me have your comments, questions and suggestions about how it could be improved. Also suggestions for alternative uses, such as "filming maggots crawling around a petri dish" are welcome!

Thank you for reading!

Step 1: You Will Need:

The materials for this aren't really critical, I made it from stuff in the junk box. Anything will do but the camera arm is best made from plywood as it has to be split down the middle to hold the camera.

Also the size of the base board has been "calculated" to accommodate a full A4 sheet of paper and still be able to read right to the bottom of the page (I say "calculated" because the board I used was exactly the right size!).

Baseboard: 40cm square MDF (my scrap material was 39cm square!).

Top platform: 20 x 40cm MDF (to suit the size of the laptop/monitor you will be using).

Camera support: 9 x 35cm 7-ply plywood.

Back supports: 2 pieces 9 x 10cm 7-ply plywood.

Nut & bolt to tighten the camera clamp (preferably a wing-nut to make hand tightening easier). M4 or M5 would be suitable; length to suit the thickness of the camera support.

General woodworking tools: Jigsaw, tenon saw, drill and countersink bit to suit screws used.

Wood glue or "no more nails" adhesive.

Sandpaper to smooth off the rough edges (I used 60 grit).

Screws to suit - I used 50mm x 4mm wood screws to fix the main parts together and shorter ones for the cable clamp.

Camera: Mini USB Borescope Camera from eBay

<p>this looks great, do you have to use any particular software for the camera?</p><p>If I were building this I'd be tempted to shape the arm so that the cable was protected at all points, and also maybe connect the camera and cable with sprung pipe clips so that it could be dissasembled easily for transport or to use the camera elsewhere.</p><p>I wonder if it would work on a tablet, using an otg adapter? That might be light enough to mount on the arm itself, making it all more immediate, like a digital magnifying glass.</p>
Hi Oragamiunicorn and thanks for your question and ideas.<br><br>About the software: I tried a few different ones (all freeware!) but the main problems are:<br>1) Getting them to recognise the USB connected camera (they mostly only work with the webcam built into the screen surround).<br>2) Operating in full screen mode. Also we have to remember that the person using the reader might not be computer-savvy so it has to work as easily as possible...<br><br>Your ideas about the cable are very good, it would be useful to disconnect the camera for other uses; at the moment you have to unscrew the clips which isn't much of a problem. Maybe cutting a channel in the side of the arm with a router would be neater.<br><br>I think there must be some way to use a tablet, but that might take some programming which I'm not good at!<br><br>Please send us some photos if you build one so everyone can benefit!<br><br>Once again thank you!<br><br>Stephen

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