Friday, August 14, 2015

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah it's the Magnilink Zip!

Low Vision International are no strangers to making great low vision devices. We were big fans of their portable camera system, the Magnilink S, a few months back and now have had the chance to review their portable desktop CCTV line, the Magnilink Zip. Suffice to say, once again we are impressed.

The Magnilnik Zip comes in many varieties with optional 13 or 17 inch screen sizes, an optional X-Y table, an optional HD or Full HD camera and an optional rechargeable battery. All models can fold flat for easy transportation and feature LVI's fantastic design aesthetic, looking sleek and modern to fit in with your other appliances.

The Magnilink Zip is a great CCTV for a student thanks to it's optional rechargeable battery allowing it to be used  away from an outlet, it's fold-away design allowing it to be easily transported between classes and it's camera which can be used for distance or near viewing. Great for zooming in on the whiteboard then looking at a handout!

You can read more about back to school technology on our sister blog at and see the Magnilink Zip at our online store here   or even better, just watch our video review below!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Beacon of Hope?

Here at The Chicago Lighthouse we are always excited to try out new technology, and that's why when Boni approached us with a desire to install navigation beacon technology here we jumped at the chance!

Boni is a company from Turkey who have been working on a navigation system to aid those who are blind or have a visual impairment to navigate through unfamiliar spaces. The way they do this is by using small beacons installed in strategic places around buildings which transmit locational data to an app (currently available on iPhone but soon to be available on Android also). Using the app is very simple and allows you to choose a location that you would like to navigate to and have the app tell you the direction and distance you need to travel both audibly and visibly. 

                                                                                                   The beacon is seen on the ceiling

Additionally the app will transmit data about your surroundings as you walk around. For example, when you walk into the lobby here at The Chicago Lighthouse the app will relay the information that you are in the lobby, that the store is to your left, the front desk is in front of you, and the offices are to your right.

The Loud Steps app giving navigational data

This kind of tool can be very useful for navigating new and unfamiliar spaces. The beacons have already been installed in multiple places in Turkey such as shopping malls, and in the tests we have carried out here at The Chicago Lighthouse the navigation technology has proved to be useful to participants as an addition to their cane. In the future we hope that this technology will be commonplace making everywhere accessible to people with a visual impairment and providing a beacon of hope for equality everywhere. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Used But Not Abused

Technology is a great asset to those who are blind or visually impaired, helping to give back independence where it may have seemed that there was no hope. The down side to this is that technology costs, and is unfortunately not covered by services such as Medicare and Medicaid. 

To help with this The Chicago Lighthouse offers used or ex-demo equipment at highly discounted prices. All the equipment is tested by our Assistive Technology team to ensure it is working correctly, and is available to be tried out at our downtown (1850 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago IL) and Glenview (222 Waukegan Road, Glenview IL) locations. 

Our used and ex-demo equipment can be found here and here And of course if you have questions about anything, technology related or otherwise, then please call! You can reach us at 1-800-919-3375, or feel free to email