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What is a Video Magnifier?
A video magnifier is a simple way of producing large text, images and maps for people with some useful vision. Printed material and objects can be placed under a camera and the magnified image is displayed on a television screen or computer monitor.
They are mostly used for reading, but can also be used for writing and other activities and to view objects at a distance such as a board in a school classroom. There are a large number of different types of models to choose from and they vary widely in the features offered.
Video Magnifiers are not a replacement for hand magnifiers, but they do have real advantages for some tasks. These include the ability to vary magnification levels, to get very high levels of magnification, to get a comfortable reading distance, and to vary reading distance. Many people find they can read more comfortably and therefore for longer periods with a video magnifier than with a hand magnifier.
While there is no absolute way of knowing whether a video magnifier will help a particular individual without them trying one for themselves, as a general guide if someone can't read the largest banner headlines in a newspaper then a video magnifier is likely to be of use to them.
The video magnifier image can be black and white or full color. Many black and white systems offer the option of switching the foreground and background colors between dark text on a light background and light text on a dark background (reversing polarity). In addition they may offer a choice of foreground and background colors.
As well as the default choice of color image view, most color image video magnifiers offer a choice of foreground and background colors, and mono view.
Desktop video magnifiers
The most common type of video magnifier is intended for use on a desk or work surface, so is called a desktop video magnifier. Most desktop video magnifiers have a camera, which is in a fixed position some distance above the desktop.
The printed material is placed on the reading table, which can be moved left to right and backwards and forwards. The image is viewed on an integrated monitor and can be adjusted for contrast, magnification and color to suit the user.
A few desktop video magnifiers have a camera on an
angle poise type stem instead, so there is some flexibility of position.
Desktop magnifiers can offer a magnification range as low as 1.5 times and as high as 72 times, although the range is usually narrower.