Chicago Lighthouse Partners with Best Buy to bring Assistive Technology to northwest suburbs

Americas, September 19 2011

Chicago, IL: Assistive devices for people with visual disabilities will be on display for two special Best Buy events this fall in the northwest suburbs. Those interested can view products at the Best Buy in Norridge on Sept. 21 and Golf Mill on Oct. 5. Special technological devices to assist blind people will soon be available to northwest suburban residents thanks to a unique partnership between The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired and Best Buy.

These devices, which include video magnifiers, special software and large print keyboards can help people losing their vision to such conditions as macular degeneration carry out everyday tasks like reading mail, paying bills and checking the thermostat on the wall.

The first two special technology displays will happen right inside two Best Buy stores this fall. The first will be Wednesday, September 21, at the Best Buy at Harlem and Irving Shopping Plaza, 4100a N. Harlem, Norridge, from 10am to 4pm. The second display will be held at the Golf Mill Best Buy store at 9530 Greenwood Avenue in Niles on Wednesday, October 5, also from 10am to 4pm.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time low vision technology devices have been shown in any of our Best Buy retail stores anywhere in the U.S.,” says Jack Stonebraker, community relationship program manager with the company. “We know that the Lighthouse has an outstanding reputation and would be a valued partner in showcasing this special technology to our customers who may be experiencing vision loss.”

“We are excited about the partnership with The Chicago Lighthouse to showcase adaptive technology and appreciate that the services the Lighthouse offers will enable us to better serve people who are blind.”

Tom Perski, senior vice president of rehabilitation at the 105-year-old agency, noted that with the aging of the massive baby boom generation, millions of people will soon be coping with reduced vision.

“We are thrilled that with the help of Best Buy, we can get the word out that there is still hope despite vision loss.”

Perski noted that the aforementioned video magnifiers come in portable and desktop models. These camera and screen displays magnify print from 3 times to over 20 times the normal size and allow a person to read most any printed material. Portable video magnifiers can be used on the go to see restaurant menus and price tags when shopping.

“Special software and large print keyboards can keep a person with vision loss using their computer with both enlarging and screen reading components,” he stated.

In addition, the Chicago Lighthouse’s vision rehabilitation service can prescribe magnifying glasses and special optical aids to help.

“The expertise of the Lighthouse technology staff can show computers, iPhones and many other devices to help seniors and others to function like a pro. There are even stand alone devices that can take a picture of a page of print and read it aloud in seconds with a clear normal sounding voice!”

For further technology products to investigate, you can also go onto the Lighthouse website at: http://chicagolighthouse.org/store/adaptive-technology.

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