Humanware Connect 12 and low vision

My experiences of using the Humanware Connect 12, a video magnifier.

Humanware Connect 12: video magnifier display a recipe from a magazine.

The Humanware Connect 12 is easily one of the most used assistive technology devices I own. As someone with low vision, I was often carrying around my bioptic, a handheld lighted magnifier and a laptop. The Connect 12 made it so that all of these tools were now in one compact device.

About the Connect 12

The Connect 12 is a portable desktop magnifier with distance viewing, OCR and third-party application access features as well. It consists of a tablet running a custom version of Android 12 that supports Humanware’s Prodigi software. The tablet is mounted into a durable folding stand with LED lights that allows the user to position the tablet at the most convenient and comfortable viewing angle and it also comes with the option of a 10x or 25x distance camera. A Bluetooth keyboard, tablet case, stylus, and a carrying case are also included. The device can get heavy after carrying it in the case after a while, so I prefer to use a rolling bag to transport the device. The tablet can be removed from the stand as well which would allow students to carry the device around the classroom with ease.

Humanware’s Prodigi software allows users access to a high-quality magnifier that has the ability to capture documents and have them read aloud to the user. The user can also save documents to the gallery to annotate them or to have them read aloud later. The software also gives users access to a calculator application and it has direct integration with Bookshare as well.

Having access to Android applications really makes the Connect 12 a viable all-in-one solution for low vision users. Users can download almost any app that is available on the Google Play Store (I have encountered issues with some apps due to Humanware’s custom android version) and be able to use it on the device. Some apps I have encountered issues with include Skyward, Planbook, Seeing AI and Be My Eyes. Skyward and Planbook were apps used at my high school so teachers could share lesson plans with students and students could access grades and other important information. If a user is familiar with the operating system of an android smartphone, they should have no issue learning to use the device.

How I Use the Connect 12 as Someone with Low Vision

I was first introduced to the Connect 12 when I was a sophomore in high school. My family and I were looking for a magnifier that would be able to assist me in my classes, but also stand the test of time and be a good fit for me in the long run. My TVI was able to obtain a trial device and once we had proved that is would be a useful tool for me in my education, the ISD (Intermediate School District) was able to purchase a device for me to use while I was a student in high school. Now, I no longer had to ask my teachers for assignments as a Microsoft Word document or wait for an enlarged copy and could complete assignments just like my peers. I do still prefer to complete assignments digitally as writing underneath the magnifier has a bit of a learning curve to it and I feel that my handwriting is neater digitally anyway. The agency that helps people with disabilities in my state was able to help me obtain a device for use in college as I was receiving vocational rehabilitation services from them.

I have a distance camera for my Connect 12, however I prefer to use my bioptic to see the board as I had found the distance camera would lag when I would switch back and forth from Microsoft OneNote (the app I use for all my notes). I also use Adobe Acrobat for annotating PDFs as I have found the file resolution of PDFs that are in the gallery of Prodigi would have a very low file resolution when I would export them to a different app. I still use the gallery when I take images of text to have it read aloud. It is worth noting I still complete majority of my classwork digitally when possible. This gives me flexibility as I can either type or draw on assignments. Also, I save everything to OneDrive so I can access it from any device.

The information mentioned in this post is just the beginning when it comes to all of the things the Connect 12 can do. It is a powerful device that can greatly increase the independence of students and it can grow with them throughout their educational journey.

By CWhodat

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