Monday, December 29, 2014

Improve Your Quality of Life - Give us a Call!

Well the Holidays are almost over and it's nearly time to start the new year already, time sure flies! If you have a visual impairment then maybe your new year's resolution this year should be to find out what technology is out there that might improve your quality of life. 

Every year here at The Chicago Lighthouse we get new technology which can help in every aspect of a visually impaired person's life, from cooking and cleaning to reading, writing, using a computer and more. It seems that the latest breakthrough is always on the horizon and if there is something you want to do as a visually impaired person there is more than likely a way to do it with the right gear!

So this year why not make a decision to help yourself and find out what might help improve your quality of life. Give us a call Monday to Friday 9-5 CST at 312-997-3649 and we would be more than happy to discuss the latest and greatest in gear for the visually impaired with you. And don't forget, you can subscribe to our Youtube Channel ( to keep up to date with our latest gear reviews and thoughts. 

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

TuneIn app now for Android

If you want to play Christmas music non-stop through the holidays but don't know where to turn then this could be for you....

TuneIn radio now has an app for Android phones so you can stream radio stations and podcasts for free and on the go! TuneIn has had an app for iOS for a number of years but now thankfully it has moved to Android also, meaning those with Android based phones can enjoy the thousands of radio stations and podcasts offered by the service. 

TuneIn is also completely accessible with Talback as well as Android's magnification features making it perfect for those with a visual impairment. 

If this sounds like something you would like get on the Google Play store now and download for free!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Take a look at this informative blog on low vision!

We have discovered a fantastic blog  called the 'Low Vision Assistive Technology Users Group' which we encourage everyone to check out. The blog is written by professionals in the low vision field, and people with low vision themselves. The blog covers the medical aspects of low vision, as well as advice for those who have low vision. You can see it here and also check it any time by using the link on the right of our blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Vario Ultra, a Braille Display for the Modern Age

The Vario Ultra is the latest Braille Display from Baum USA, and features some great additions that our blind tech guru is very excited about. Top of the list is its ability to connect to 4 different Bluetooth devices and 1 USB device simultaneously. This is a great feature for those who have a smart phone, laptop, desktop and tablet and want to have them connected to their Braille display without having to go through the pairing process each time they wish to connect to a different device. 

As well as this the display features note-taking capabilities and smooth, crisp Braille. We think it will be a winner and as soon as we have one we will of course make a video review. In the meantime, make sure to check out our other reviews at: !   

Edit: Here's the Video :-)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Self-Driving Cars Come One Step Closer to the Streets....

Google's self-driving cars have been around for a while now in the testing stages, and have shown impressive results with navigation and safety. The potential for this technology for the blind and low vision community is massive, as it could being a great degree of independence back to a huge number of people. Another milestone was reached recently when Google were granted permits in California to test the vehicles on the road. Before long this technology could be making an impact in your life, so start saving those pennies!

See here for more info!

New Look!

We have been experimenting with a new look for our blog and our Youtube Channel ( to spice things up a bit. New look, same great content, let your friends know the Chicago Lighthouse tech team is there to help with any blind and low vision tech needs!

Let us know in the comments any feedback you have on the new look, good or bad!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The KNFB Reader App is Here!

The KNFB Reader app has landed and is proving to be an excellent tool for doing OCR on the go. Working on a number of iDevices the app lets you do OCR on single or multi-page documents very quickly and accurately. We have found it very easy to use and a great tool at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated OCR device. But don't just take our word for it, check out the video below to see for yourself!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A New and Accessible way to Stream Audio and Video Content to your TV

Until now, the only accessible way for someone to stream video content directly to his/her TV was by using the Apple TV which came with Apple’s VoiceOver screen reader. That however has changed with the introduction of Google’s Nexus Player. The Nexus Player is a small circular device that can connect to any TV via an HDMI cable and stream audio and video content from many popular services such as Netflix and Pandora with new services being added every day. Someone who is blind or visually impaired has full access to the device by turning on TalkBack which is Google’s equivalent to Apple’s VoiceOver.

Although turning on the accessibility features does require sighted assistance initially, once turned on a blind or visually impaired user is able to easily use the simple remote to control the device with full spoken feedback. Unlike the Apple TV the Nexus Player allows for the user to dictate using a microphone built into the remote. This voice control allows for one to open apps and play music without having to enter text using the on screen keyboard. Whether you are a fan of Google or not, it is wonderful to have another option to stream audio and video to one’s TV and the Nexus Player has come out just in time for the Holidays and costs just $99!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Reading on the go and on the cheap....

For those in the know the Victor Reader Stream is a go to device, featuring great audio options for listening to DAISY books, MP3's, MP4's, wave files and more. The latest version even contains WiFi capabilities that allow you to download books, listen to podcasts, stream radio stations and more without needing a computer.

If you don't already know about this great device, check out the video review below, and if you like what you see then get to our online store fast! Until 12/31 the Victor Reader has $50 off (applied in the cart) making it just $319 + tax.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gift Buying Made Easy - But Be Quick!

It's that time of year again and at The Chicago Lighthouse we are all hyped for the Holidays! We know, however, that it can be an expensive time and with that in mind we have put into effect some great offers - these will only last until 12/31 though so get them while you can! Treat a loved one, a friend - or yourself (you deserve it).

Offer 1 - $100 off any used CCTV under $1000, $200 off any used CCTV over $1000

Offer 2 - $100 off a new Smartlux handheld electronic magnifier

Offer 3 - $200 off any new model of the Veo CCTV

Offer 4 - $50 off a new Victor Reader Stream 2nd Generation

Monday, September 29, 2014

What’s New in Victor Reader Stream Version 4.4?

                Last week, HumanWare released the long awaited update to it’s Victor Reader Stream second generation book player. The new features that have been added are designed to enhance the player’s capabilities when connected to a wifi network. Users in the United States now have the ability to download books directly from the National Library Service to the device, as well as the ability to subscribe to podcasts that are downloaded for offline play.

                The search functionality for both podcasts and the NLS service is rather self-explanatory and very easy to use. One can search by a variety of methods. One can enter text directly using the numeric keypad to search or it is possible for one to browse available options by category. A simple press of the pound key on the desired book or podcast feed will prompt the player to immediately begin downloading the content.

Another rather simple but quite useful feature that has been added to the new software is the battery and download status shortcut key. If one presses and holds the pound key the current download status and battery level is announced. This means the user no longer has to navigate through the entire info screen to hear battery status and current download percentage. To purchase a Victor reader Stream, or for more specific information on how these new features work, feel free to give us a call at 800-919-3375.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The ODIN VI accessible cell phone will soon have a big brother....

The ODIN VI phone has been making a big splash with its full accessibility to the blind and visually impaired, simple operation and low cost handset and plans. If you haven't heard about this great phone already check out the video below!

Odin have some more exciting developments in the pipeline with an unlocked handset that can be used on any GSM network and an entirely new phone that will bring smartphone capabilities in an extremely accessible and easy to use format.

The new handset, due at the end of September, is a smartphone with a tactile interface. A clever rubber sleeve is placed over the phone and creates a tactile interface much easier to use than a touch screen. The phone also has a completely customized user interface which provides all the functions of a smartphone such as speech recognition, internet, internet radio, audio books and more. As soon as we get a demo handset we'll make a video so you can see for yourselves!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Our latest video! The Eyepal ROL

We've made a new video on a great read-aloud device from ABiSee called the Eyepal ROL! This device has lightning fast and very accurate OCR, is lightweight, and includes features such as an alarm clock and calendar. Check out the video then call us at 1-800-919-3375 to order!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our National Helpdesk is up and running again!

After some months hiatus we have got our National Helpdesk up and running again with the excellent Peter Tucic at the helm. Peter is an expert in all areas of assistive technology and is ready to take your calls and solve your tech problems. So, if you need any help don't despair, give us a call at:


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Low Vision Products Show

Be sure to come to our next low vision product show Wednesday, July 16th at the Chicago Lighthouse North, located in Glenview, IL. The show will feature many items including talking clocks, accessible cell phones as well as electronic, portable magnifiers, CCTVs and so much more!

Our technology specialists will be there to answer all your questions and work one-on-one with you to determine the best product for you! Click here to get a preview of the products you'll see.

The event is absolutely free and be sure to bring some family and friends.
The Chicago Lighthouse North
222 Waukegan Road
Glenview, IL
Google Map It!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The KNFB Reader for iOS is nearly here....

The KNFB Reader app is nearly here and boasts a great array of features. Two of the features that will be useful to many people are the book mode, allowing a user to scan multiple pages extremely quickly, and the ability to do OCR at a distance (for example on PowerPoint slides from up to 25 feet away)!

Once scanned users can navigate by word, sentence etc. and multiple languages are supported, with the app automatically detecting them and being able to perform translation.

All in all we think this app is going to be fantastic, and although pricey at $99 it will be worth every penny if it works as advertised. So far it has received glowing reviews, stay tuned for our own review as soon as it is released!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Need Help Using your iPhone? Hadley School is Here to Help!

We recently discovered a fantastic resource from Hadley School for the Blind. On their Youtube page they have a long list (22!) of videos covering how to use the iPhone, from texting and emailing to setting alarms and making calls and everything in between. These videos are presented in a concise and easy to understand way, and there's plenty to learn whether you are a beginner or an expert!

Follow the link below to go to a list of all the available videos.

Click here to go to the list of videos!

New Tom's Corners!

Here are some of the latest Tom's Corner episodes covering everything you need to know if the world of blindness and low vision technology!
Follow the links below to open up the episode of your choice in a new browser window, then press Spacebar to play!

May 10th Episode

May 24th Episode

May 31st Episode

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Peter Tucic demonstrates the new, fully accessible, ODIN VI mobile phone!

The ODIN VI mobile phone is here, and looking great! This phone is the first phone to be built from the ground up to be accessible to the blind and visually impaired, featuring full voicing and large, high contrast print.

The ODIN VI has been designed to be easy to use and features text messaging, a contacts list, multiple languages, male and female voices, programmable emergency numbers and more! Check out our video below to see for yourself what the ODIN VI can do!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Send More Than Just a Card

With the success of the InBraille Valentine's Day cards, the Chicago Lighthouse is proud to launch an all-occasion pack of braille cards. These cards, specifically designed for the Lighthouse by artist Alisa Singer, feature cards reading the following: (starting at top left) thinking of you, happy birthday, thank you, congrats and sympathy.

Integrated into the art are the actual braille readings of the message inside. Send more than just a card, send a card that gives back. All InBraille cards are packaged by Lighthouse employees who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise disabled.

Click here to purchase your pack today!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Facebook Shortcut Keys

Here is something that most of you probably are not aware of.  There are shortcuts built into Facebook that lets you get to different places quite quickly.  The shortcuts depend on what browsers you are using.  If you are using Internet Explorer you would hit "Alt" and a number then press "Enter".  For Firefox on a PC, you would hit "Alt" and "Shift" and the number. For Chrome on a PC, you would only "Alt" and the number.  for any web browser on the Mac, you would press "Control" and "Option" and the number.

The numbers correlate to a specific part of Facebook.

0 = Help
1 = Home
2 = Timeline
3 = Friends
4 = Inbox
5 = Notifications
6 = Settings
7 = Activity Log
8 = About
9 = Terms

Go ahead and try them.

Cheap handheld electronic CCTV

If you are in need of a handheld electronic magnifier but are finding money a little tight this may be just the thing for you. We have an ex-demonstrator Optelec Traveller, a great portable CCTV with full color and enhanced color modes, continuous magnification and a tiltable screen which can be adjusted to the perfect angle for you. This portable can run on the battery for around 2 hours or be powered with the included power adapter. It even comes with a case! And the best thing - it is only $199 (previously $1449)!

Call Luke at 312-997-3649 for more information.

Friday, May 30, 2014

We just received some very interesting technology in the form of the ODIN VI phone. This phone is made specifically for the blind and visually impaired and features a number of accessibility features such as:

The ODIN VI is 100% accessible to the blind
Adjust the speech speed
Select a male or female voice
Typed numbers displayed in 24 point font
Text messages displayed in 12 point font
Select black on white display or white on black
Hearing aid compatible – rating of M3/T3

This is a great phone. particularly for seniors who find smart phones too complex. It is straight forward to use, tactile, fully voiced (including reading text messages) and has a number of low cost plans (starting from $10!) to suit any budget.

As you can tell we are impressed and will have a video up soon. In the meantime check out this video from our friends at Baruch College.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Snow 7 HD electronic handheld magnifier is here

We recently received a new handheld electronic magnifier from Zoomax called the Snow 7 HD. As you might have guessed from the name it features a 7" screen and a HD camera. Also included is the ability to focus on near and distance objects, and the ability to connect to a high-definition screen.

This electronic magnifier is great value for money at $999.95, and can be used as a handheld and also as a good alternative to a desktop CCTV. See our video below!

See it on our website here

Call us at 312-997-3649 for more information!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Reduced price adaptive technology now available!

We just added a section to our store website dedicated to ex-demo, used and NOS adaptive technology. There will be plenty of bargains available on there, so check regularly to see what's available. Follow the link below to go right there, or go to to go to the main site.

Click here to see the reduced price technology!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Low Vision Products Show

Good afternoon readers! I wanted to send out a quick note letting you know our Low Vision Product Show will be in Frankfort, IL tomorrow. The event will run 10am-3pm, come when you can and bring some friends.

Our technology staff will be showcasing independent living products as well as some new, exciting technology like the Snow 7HD, the newest handheld CCTV with a 7" screen and amazing HD display. Click here to get a sneak peek.

The details as well as a link to the location is below. Hope to see many of you there!

Frankfort Township
11000 W. Lincoln Highway
Frankfort, IL 60423

Google Map it!

Monday, April 28, 2014

New Tom's Corners now available!

We've got two more Tom's corners for you today covering the latest and greatest in low vision and blindness technology and tips. Follow the links below to catch up with Tom!

Tom's Corner April 12th Click Here

Tom's Corner April 19th Click Here!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Another video for your enjoyment! Tom Perski demonstrates the NEW Magnilink Voice OCR/TTS machine

We just tried out the new Magnilink Voice from Low Vision International and found it to be a great solution for those who need documents to be read aloud to them. The 'Voice' features simple controls, good quality construction and very fast and accurate OCR whether the document is upside, left, right or the right way up! Another great feature is automatic language detection. In North America the unit ships with both English and Spanish and will automatically detect the language when you scan the document. There are also a number of other languages available for purchase.

We of course had to make a video to show everyone what the 'Voice' can do, which you can watch below. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Importance of Lighting

If you have trouble reading good quality lighting can be just as important as magnification in helping you to see text better. We have created a video explaining some concepts behind using a lamp to get the maximum benefit from it, and also highlighting a lamp from Daylight which we think is particularly good.

See the video here

Monday, April 14, 2014

New CCTV inbound!

We just had the pleasure of evaluating the latest CCTV from Baum, the Visiobook S. This CCTV features a 12.6" screen, foldaway design, built in battery and lightweight construction. Tom was so excited that he insisted we do a video so people could see it for themselves! 

So without further ado here it is....

Friday, April 11, 2014

This article from 'The Week' caught our eyes - An accessible version of Netflix - Yes Please!!

The Week Logo
Meet the company that wants to be the Netflix for blind people
For years, advocates have been trying to make mainstream television more accessible to the visually impaired. TalkingFlix may be on the verge of doing just that.
By Kaitlin Roberts | April 8, 2014
We've all been there: you're hanging out with friends when the conversation suddenly turns to the latest episode of House of Cards or the recent Jennifer Lawrence blockbuster. You haven't seen this particular television show or film, so for the next fifteen minutes, while your friends dissect the plot and recount that hilarious moment, you're left finding creative ways to stir your coffee.
Television shows and movies constitute an enormous part of our culture, and not being in on the story can feel isolating. This is especially true for people with visual impairments. Sure, the blind and visually impaired can listen to a movie or television show, but so much of what happens in the story — from a character's subtle glance to a car exploding — is visual.

Crossway Media Solutions is an online entertainment service working to make films and television shows more accessible for people with disabilities. This year, the company will launch TalkingFlix, the first audio-described, on-demand entertainment service for those with visual impairments. "Our main goal," TalkingFlix head of content Ellen Pittleman tells The Week, "is accessibility. We want to help sighted and non-sighted populations have a shared social experience."

According to Pittleman, who was a Paramount executive before joining TalkingFlix, broadcast networks for years have been making audio tracks that describe programming visuals. In April 2002, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began requiring major networks to provide 50 hours of described programming per quarter. Disability advocates saw this new legislation as an opportunity to approach film studios and encourage them to provide this service as well.

They quickly realized that the cost of creating these tracks was difficult to justify. "We were just about to release Titanic when I was at Paramount and we were approached," Pittleman explains. "It was an important move for the studio to participate in providing this service because Titanic was to be our biggest DVD release ever. Unfortunately, in retrospect we found that the cost of creating these tracks was often not being recovered by the sales."

Most DVDs don't include an audio menu, and movie theaters and streaming services are often set up for audio-described content. As a result, it didn't make sense for studios to invest the time or money into making these tracks available.

Now, Pittleman is in the process of working with these production companies to recover some of those old tracks from studio libraries, while giving content providers a market for creating such tracks. By bridging the gap between studios and consumers, TalkingFlix aims to offer hundreds of popular titles that customers will be able to access on their televisions or mobile devices.
The idea behind TalkingFlix has a long back story. The company's CEO, David Timar, is not blind, but is visually impaired and has close ties to the blind community. He built a career in the tech world, but he's no stranger to the film industry. His father, Peter Timar, is a well-known Hungarian director and tireless advocate for media accessibility. "Growing up," David Timar tells The Week, "I realized the problem my father was trying to solve was not a local problem, but a global one... My dad's work with [the visually impaired] community help me understand the need."

Timar came up with the idea to market audio-described tracks years ago, but the project only took off last year when an investor encouraged Timar to apply for seed funding.
Finding a consumer base should not be a problem. According to the FCC, there are approximately 25 million Americans and 289 million people worldwide with visual impairments. The bigger obstacle — and the reason many companies have failed to tap into this niche market — involves getting investors and the studios to sign up. "The biggest challenge," Timar says, "is telling investors we are going to get the content and being able to strike a deal with studios based on an unprecedented market. It's a back-and-forth game."

TalkingFlix is in the process of closing its first deal, and if it succeeds, it will be the first company to overcome this hurdle, gaining access to a pool of consumers that even bigger names like Netflix and Hulu haven't reached.

The program plans to launch later this year, but you can sign up for the service now. Gearing up for the launch, Timar and his team have several goals. In the first year, they hope to grow the library and make TalkingFlix available to the English-speaking world as soon as possible. Long term, Timar says he wants to make audio-described content available to Spanish-speaking countries, India, and China.
"Eventually," Timar says, "I would like TalkingFlix to be a household item worldwide."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Visiobook S CCTV is coming....

We've just got our hands on the new Visiobook S CCTV from Baum, and we are liking it a lot. The CCTV features a beautiful design, 12.6" screen, false color modes and can run on rechargeable battery or mains.

This CCTV can be folded away completely flat for easy storage or to move around the house. It is a great solution for someone who wants the convenience of a desktop CCTV, but without the large footprint and aesthetically displeasing look.

We'll have a video review up very soon....keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, April 7, 2014

It's that time again for a new edition of Tom's Corner! In this episode Tom covers the great Chester Creek Vision Board large key keyboard with extra large letters. This keyboard is great for people with low vision. Tom also talks about the Big Grip, an iPad case that is so safe you can throw your iPad across the room and not worry about it!

As usual click the link below to open Tom's Corner in a new Window, and press space to play.

Tom's Corner April 5th

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Tom's Corner!

Here's the latest edition of Tom's Corner, covering Tom's time at CSUN and the exciting new electronic magnifier, the Snow 7 HD. Featuring a 7 inch screen and a High Definition camera, we think it is great! Keep your eyes peeled for a video review coming soon....

Tom's Corner

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Android KitKat's built in magnification

We've got a new video for your enjoyment! In this one we are testing the magnification feature built in to Android KitKat using a Motorola 'Moto X' phone. We found the magnification feature to be great and make the phone very accessible to the visually impaired.

See the video below!

Roadshow coming up!

Our latest roadshow is coming up next Wednesday, where we will be bringing a great selection of adaptive technology and tools for living to the Palos Hills Community Center. The address is 8455 W.103rd Street, Palos Hills 60465 and we'll be there from 10am to 3pm.

Come and see what tools we've got that can help you and meet the team!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tom's Corner

Here's the latest Tom's Corner! As usual click on the link below to open a new window with the audio file in, then press Space to start playing it!

Tom's Corner March 15th!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Low Vision Product Show

Here are a few shots from our first low vision product show of 2014! We had a great day at Friendship Village in Schaumburg, IL.

Don't miss our next show on Wednesday, April 2 at Palos Hills Community Center (8455 W. 103rd Street) in Palos Hills, IL. It's free to attend and bring some friends! See you there.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Low Vision Product Show

Tomorrow, March 20, we have a low vision product show in Park Ridge, IL.  The location is Maine Township Center, 1700 Ballard Rd, Park Ridge, IL.  We will be there from 10:00am to 3:00pm.  You will be able to see the latest in product development and try them out as well.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Motorola 'Moto X' phone and Android Kit Kat review

We have been reviewing the Motorola X smart phone recently to see how its accessibility features stack up. As part of the project our very own Peter Tucic has done a video on Android's TalkBack feature, which allows blind users to use the phone.

TalkBack will read information from the phone to the user to allow them to navigate, read emails and texts, make calls and so on. Also included is Google Now which is a speech recognition service that allows a user to speak to their phone to perform functions such as call contacts, set alarm, navigate applications and a lot more.

Watch the video below to see how it works, and what we think of it!

Motorola 'Moto X' and Android Kit Kat Review

Tom's Corner

Here's another 2 exciting episodes of Tom's corner, covering the Motorola Moto X phone and its accessibility features, and the new CDesk EDGE tablets which bring accessible computing to tablet form.

The March 8th show is a special treat, as it has the whole hour of The Beacon available to listen to! Tom's corner is found in the last 10 minutes of the show.

Enjoy by clicking below! A new window will open with the show in, press space bar to play!

Click here for the March 1st show

Click here for the full March 8th Beacon Show!

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Moto X Smart Phone and Big Launcher

Motorola recently very kindly lent us their latest Moto X smart phone so we could review the accessibility features. Stay tuned for reviews on the built in screen reader 'Talk Back' and the built in magnification (sneak preview: they're both excellent). In the meantime we anted to tell you about an app called Big Launcher

The app (pictured above) simplifies the android operating system to 6 large and easy to use buttons. the top left button is used to make calls, next to that is the messaging button, then is the camera button, the picture viewer button, the SOS button (which can be pre-programmed with a personal SOS number) and an applications button to access other apps on the phone. 

In the app settings you can select different text sizes, whether you want button functions to be spoken when 'long pressed' and if you want the button name (e.g phone) to be displayed when 'long pressed'. Additionally it is possible to customize the buttons to show different functions, and have a large battery indicator and signal indicator displayed. 

This app is great for seniors who want an easy to use phone, or the visually impaired or blind user who is just getting started in the smart phone market. Best of all, it costs just $10! Big Launcher worked great on the Moto X thanks to its responsive touchscreen , large screen and powerful processor, and we highly recommend both the phone and the app. 

For more information call Luke at 3129973649, and to see our products go to

New CDesk Edge

Do you want to use a tablet but feel intimidated by the technology? Do you want an easy to use portable computer that you can control by touch, or even with your voice?

Introducing the CDesk EDGE 11! This tablet from AdaptiveVoice runs a full version of the CDesk software suite which makes it easy for people even with no computer experience to email, browse the internet, write documents and a whole lot more.

We have been enjoying this accessible tablet a lot, and even made a video about it. Check out the video on the EDGE 11 by clicking below! For more information visit or call Luke at 3129973649.

Click here to see the CDesk EDGE 11 video!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Listen up! Victor Reader 2 offers great features!

Our very own Peter Tucic has some wise words of wisdom about the Victor Reader 2 and its exciting new features. Follow the link below to read all about it!

Click here for the article!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Catalogs Are Here!

Our latest edition of our Tools for Living catalog is now available. Please email Bridget at with your name and address and we will be happy to mail you one.

The catalog includes items ranging from independent living items, assistive technology, talking watches and much more. 

We also invite you to visit our online catalog by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Two Tom's Corners for the price of one!

We have a treat for you today....two episodes of Tom's Corner! OK I admit, I forgot to post the one from last week but the good thing is you now get two in a row :-)

As always click on the links below. They will open in a separate browser window, then just hit spacebar to start them playing!

Tom's Corner Feb 15th. Click me!

Tom's Corner Feb 21st. Click me!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Birthday Celebration

All of us on the blog thought it would be fun to share a few pictures of Tom's birthday celebration on Thursday. Tom shared his celebration with Meesa, an employee in our Low Vision Clinic. The February babies celebrated in our retail store with many fellow employees. Enjoy the pictures!

Happy Birthday, Tom & Meesa!

We should have taken a pre-cutting picture!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tom's corner latest episode - this time on film!

The latest edition of Tom's corner is here - and this time it's on film! Check out this episode filmed live in the studio to see what Tom and Brian look like, and hear them talk about the Esight eyewear.

Click on the link below to open up the video in Youtube!

Tom's Corner - On Film!

Or for the audio version only, click below!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Product Road Show Dates

After what seems like the harshest, longest and coldest winter in Chicago history, March is right around the corner. And what does that mean... Spring is (hopefully) coming very soon and, more importantly, the start of another product road show season.

The CLH Low Vision Product Road Shows welcome the public to experience state of the art technology such as CCTVs, portable devices, GPSs and many more independent living aids. The shows allow you to test out the products as well as speak with our technology staff and pick their brains on what product (s) would work best for you.

These events are absolutely free and we invite you to bring a friend, family member, neighbor or whomever and find the products that could change your life!

Below are the 2014 dates scheduled as of now- more to definitely come! Also, to view some of the products beforehand, click here.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a show at your location, please call Sandra Valentino at 312-997-3677 or

2014 Dates:

Tuesday, March 18
Friendship Village
350 W. Schaumburg Road
Schaumburg, IL 60194

Thursday, March 20 
Maine Township
1700 Ballard Road, Community Room- Lower level
Park Ridge, IL 60068

Wednesday, April 2
Palos Hills Community Center
8455 W. 103rd Street
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Thurday, April 24
Chicago Lighthouse North
222 Waukegan Road
Glenview, IL 60025

Wednesday, July 16
Chicago Lighthouse North
222 Waukegan Road
Glenview, IL 60025

Wednesday, September 17
Chicago Lighthouse North
222 Waukegan Road
Glenview, IL 60025

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Motorola Mobility Foundation have just posted the video from their 'Chicago Maker Challenge' that we attended recently. This is from their website:

Motorola Mobility Foundation is driven by a passionate base of volunteer employees who work every day to solve problems with technology to connect people and make their lives better and easier. Together we want to encourage more people to use technology to solve problems, so we created a competition for students to demonstrate their skills. We’re looking for student makers, creators and problem solvers to design and make a hardware, software or combined technology that solves a community problem or helps make the world more accessible to people with disabilities.

The competition kickoff event was held on Thursday January 30th from 4-7pm at the Harold Washington Library of Chicago.  The Chicago Lighthouse invite was to help students discuss challenges that people with disabilities may face as well as showcase assistive or adaptive technologies that benefit this community.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Here's an interesting video from about using 3D printing technology to produce replicas of traffic junctions in order to help people who are blind or visually impaired learn their layout to cross them more safely.

Check it out!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Motorola Chicago Maker Challenge

The Chicago Lighthouse was very kindly asked to participate in the Motorola 'Chicago Maker Challenge' last week. This is a great event to encourage students to come up with ideas to make the world more accessible to people with disabilities.

Tom and I headed down to the Harold Washington Library to show and talk about technology for people with visual impairment to the students taking part. We both had a great time talking to the students and hope we inspired some of them to make a difference!

To read more about the challenge, visit

Illinois AER Vision Conference is upon us......

February 13-14 sees us at the Illinois AER conference at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg, IL 60713 ( We will be displaying some of the latest Assistive Technology on the market that can be of assistance in the Education field. Come visit us, we'd be glad to see you!

Stay tuned for Tom's Corner on film.....

We tried something new and exciting today....a Tom's Corner podcast that was filmed live as well as recorded! We had a lot of fun making it, and hope you will watching it.

Tune in next week to see the show!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Latest Tom's Corner!

Here is the latest exciting edition of Tom's corner covering things such as the new Magnilink S portable CCTV camera that can be connected to a monitor or laptop, and can do OCR! Also discussed are the latest shows where you can come out, meet Tom in person and see some of the latest tech available.

To see the latest tech online visit us at

To listen to the show follow the link below. A new browser window will open, then just hit space bar to start it playing!

Click Here!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Macular Degeneration - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

You may want to subscribe to this e mail newsletter about Macular Degeneration. I have found it to be helpful in keeping up with new information.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Spread the Love

"He's making a list, checkin it twice. Gotta find out.." oops, wrong holiday! Christmas isn't the only time of the year when you may need some gift ideas for the loved ones and children in your life.

Our friends at the American Foundation for the Blind have compiled a holiday gift guide just for Valentine's Day. The list includes many gifts for visually impaired children and ideas on how to make the day special.  

Click here to check out the list!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Eye Pal Ace Plus

                                                    Eye Pal Ace Plus

The Chicago Lighthouse is very excited to announce the arrival of Abisee's newest talking scanner, the Eye Pal Ace Plus!

Going a step above the Eye Pal Ace, the Plus features the newest technology that includes:

  • WiFi connectivity
  • Ability to send/receive email with the option of attaching voice messages and documents
  • Ability to download books from Bookshare

Features of the Eye Pal Ace & Plus include:

  • Scan & Read documents
  • Headphone accessible
  • Appx. weight: 3.5 lbs
  • Easy-to-touch buttons
  • Calendar and photo upload options
  • Document storage

Click here to visit the Tools for Living Retail Store & shop today!

Monday, January 27, 2014

If you want to know how Google Glass could help you, follow the link below!

Wearable Technology Like Google Glass Can Drastically Improve The Lives Of People With Disabilities, Here’s Why

Magnilink S portable CCTV/OCR impresses

The new Magilink Student portable CCTV, now called Magnilink S, works with a laptop, computer monitor or TV. There are six models available depending on what capabilities you require, each of which is built well and works flawlessly. The most high-end model features lightning fast OCR that is great for anyone who needs documents to be read to them.

Check out a video demonstrating its capabilities by following the link below. Video presented by our very own Tom Perski!

A new innovation in wearable magnification technology presents exciting possibilities

Esight Eyewear is a great new innovation from a company in Ottawa, Ontario. This wearable headgear looks like sunglasses but contains video screens in the lenses and a camera in the bridge. Using a portable control module users can zoom in and out, change colors, freeze an image and focus at near or far!

For those with a central scotoma these glasses can help you see the world around you clearly again. They have launched in Canada and are beginning only in the U.S. with the Chicago Lighthouse both in Chicago and Glenview.

To read more and see some real success stories with kids and adults in Canada click the link below! 

The Latest Exciting Edition of Tom's Corner!

Here's the latest Tom's Corner from 1/25/2014 covering things such as this very blog and the exciting collaboration between GW Micro and Microsoft.

Visit us online at to see more great tech products.

Click the link below to open a new browser window with the podcast in,  then hit spacebar to start playing the podcast!

Click here for the latest Tom's Corner!