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Summary: Adaptive technology (AT) is "any object or system that is specifically designed for the purpose of increasing or maintaining the capabilities of people with disabilities." The University officially supports these, although there are more to consider.
Adaptive technologies supported at the U
These adaptive technologies are supported at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (but note if you're just curious and want to dabble with these adaptive technologies you're better off watching the video demonstrating several AT's on the Overview of Adaptive Technologies page. AT's have a high learning curve for the inexperienced user and most need to be purchased for use):
- JAWS screen reader
- Voiceover (Apple) screen reader
- ZoomText screen magnifier
- Kurzweil 3000 text-to-speech synthesizer
- Kurzweil 1000 scan-and-read software (requires document scanner)
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software
- On-campus Labs
Windows-based application that captures text-based output and speaks it using synthesized speech AKA: Text To Speech (TTS) — or sends it to a refreshable Braille display. Hotkey combinations provide access to reading, navigational and system controls.
Apple OSX and iOS application that captures text-based output and speaks it using synthesized speech AKA: Text To Speech (TTS) — or sends it to a refreshable Braille display. Hotkey combinations or finger gestures provide access to reading, navigational and system controls.
Windows-based application for magnifying the output on a computer display. Magnification options include full screen, parts of the screen or a magnifying glass view of the area around the cursor or pointer. Additional features include screen and document reading, foreground and background color customization, reverse video modes, enhanced pointer viewing and tracking options.
Windows-based text-to-speech synthesizer for reading scanned or electronic documents aloud. User-selectable reading units (words, lines, sentences and paragraphs) can be highlighted for easier tracking. Words are highlighted as they are spoken. This auditory and visual presentation of information helps increase reading accuracy, speed and comprehension.
A scan-and-read system for use by people who are blind or severely visually impaired. Kurzweil 1000, in concert with a document scanner, converts printed text to synthesized speech.
Nuance Communications. Allows users to create and edit documents (dictation), browse the Web and operate a computer (command and control) using speech alone. Enables a person who is unable to use their hands or must limit their use to move cursors and pointers, perform keystrokes, carry-out system functions and create documents without touching the mouse or keyboard. Aids users with learning disabilities in the writing process.
These technologies are available in two Adaptive Technology labs located on the Twin Cities campus.
The following adaptive technologies are also available in each of the OIT Computer Facilities across the Twin Cities campuses:
- JAWS for Windows
- Voiceover (Mac)
- Kurzweil 3000 (Please use the username and password provided by the Disability Resource Center)
Note: Please bring your own headphones for speech output or headset for speech recognition.