Ten Products to Help Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

Posted by Rob Mineault on

Didn't get what you wanted in your Christmas Stocking?

We know how it feels ... the Holiday season is over and you're warm and comfortable in your new fuzzy Christmas socks and robe, but still perhaps a bit disappointed that you didn't get everything you wanted in your stocking.

We've compiled a list of ten amazing Assistive Technology devices that were among the bestsellers of 2018 and that are sure to do the same in 2019 just for you. So if you've got those post-Holiday blues, get up off that chair, put down the novelty mug full of chai spice tea that your grandma got you, and treat yourself!


Picture of a Pebble HD Portable Video MagnifierFor those people with Low Vision and who require magnification solutions, the Pebble HD is a great idea for a gift for yourself!

The Pebble HD magnifies from 1.25x  to 20x and folds so that it can easily fit in a pocket or a purse. 28 color modes ensures that it will work for almost any eye condition and it even has the ability to take a freeze frame of any magnified image that can be saved and examined later.

Its rechargeable battery offers up 3 hours of continuous use, and as it only weighs a paltry 7 oz, it’s a perfect portable solution! Great to take shopping, or anywhere where you may need a little magnification in your life, it gives that loved one in your life a solution no matter where they are.


Picture of the Sunu Band Haptic Mobility AidSpeaking of on the go, the SUNU Band is perfect for anyone with a visual impairment who loves to travel. Sunu Band is a smart-band that guides your way around obstacles, using sonar or echolocation to detect objects up to 16 feet (5.5 meters) away. Once detected, the haptic vibration feedback informs how close (or far away) you are to obstacles.

Sunu Band compliments your cane, guide dog or low vision and you are able to explore and navigate unfamiliar places with Sunu Band’s haptic compass, place finder/explorer, and GPS navigation app. 


Image of the Dot Watch Braille WatchThe Dot Watch is a Braille Smartwatch For The Visually Impaired. It's worn just like a conventional watch (albeit a big one), but it's anything but conventional.

The Dot Watch acts as bridge for the visually impaired with a cost-effective, easy-to-carry, braille device that uses multi-active actuator technique. Not only can this Braille watch tell the time, it also connects to any smartphone and can offer up text notifications, caller id, or even calendar reminders. Like any other Smart Watch, the Dot Watch has a rechargeable battery, touch sensor, vibration motor and Bluetooth. Very practical and easy to use! 


Image of the Victor Reader Trek Digital Book Player and GPSYet another great idea for the visually impaired traveler, the Victor Reader Trek combines what has historically been two completely different devices into one sleek and elegant solution. One the one hand, the Victor Reader Trek is a feature rich DAISY digital book player, and the other, it’s also a GPS enabled navigation system.

The Victor Reader Trek will use GPS to verbally announce the name of streets, intersections, and landmarks so you always know where you’re going, whether you’re on foot or in a vehicle. With the press of the online button you can toggle between the always-on Orientation guidance mode and offline or online book reading. The Victor Reader Trek is also Bluetooth enabled for Bluetooth headsets, which can then be used with control keys to modify the volume or perform commands related to book playback.

The Victor Reader Trek will get you to your destination and then give you hundreds of hours of entertainment with DAISY talking books, all in one convenient device.


Image of the QBraille XL Braille DisplayInnovation and assistive technology is always an exciting combination, and 2018 saw HIMS release a new Braille Display that realized a new, innovative design.

The QBraille XL differentiates itself from other Braille Displays by offering up a hybrid keyboard, a mixture of Braille style keys surrounded by standard QWERTY modifier and function keys in their typical positions. This simple design innovation enables this display to be more versatile than most others on the market, offering traditional Braille Terminal mode, Keyboard Mode, or Hybrid mode for screen reader operation, standard keyboard connectivity, or screen reader output with standard keyboard input.

Add onto this all the features of conventional HIMS braille products, and you have in hand one of the most innovative Braille devices of 2018!


Image of the telca-e Telca-e is a cloud-connected assistive device that provides users with control of their smart devices and environment through wheelchair driving controls and ability switches from manufacturers like AbleNet. Tecla-e can pair with up to eight (8) Bluetooth devices and the user can switch between them by pressing and holding one of their switches. Compatible devices include:
  • Phone, iPad and iPod Touch (iOS devices with Switch Control)
  • Mac Computers (macOS with Switch Control)
  • Apple TV (tvOS with Switch Control)
  • Android devices (with Switch Access, we recommend Pixel devices)
  • Samsung devices (with Universal Switch)
  • Windows computers (compatible scanning software required)
  • Tecla-e can even control Internet-enabled appliances via its WiFi connection through smart home platforms and services and currently supports devices through IFTTT, devices controlled by Logitech’s Harmony Hub, and integrates with Amazon Alexa's voice assistant service.
Tecla-e is the perfect gift for individuals with physical disabilities who cannot independently use smartphones, tablets, computers or smart home technology with touchscreens and keyboards. This includes those with limited upper-body mobility resulting from spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, or stroke.


Image of a hand wearing a Tap Strap Wearable KeyboardThe TAP Keyboard is a Bluetooth enabled alternative keyboard and mouse solution that fits on your hand like a pair of geeky brass knuckles. By moving your fingers and ‘tapping’ on a surface with different finger combinations, you’re able to type as fast if not faster than a conventional keyboard. The TAP keyboard comes with an app that will train you to memorize these finger combinations and promises that after only a few hours of lessons, you’ll be able to tap up a storm and be just as accurate (if not more so) as if you were using a regular onscreen keyboard.

TAP connects to any smart device and purports to be able to be used on most any surface. TAP could be an especially useful input for those people on the go for who accessing a screen reader or onscreen keyboard burdensome.


Image of a pair of Aftershokz Bone Conduction HeadphonesThe Aftershokz line of headphones employ what is called bone conduction technology, which makes them unique in the headphone market. What is bone conduction technology you ask? Well, unlike conventional in or over-the-ear type headphones, bone conduction headphones send the sound vibrations along a different route -- namely into the jaw and into your inner ear and brain. Sound weird? Well, believe it or not, it doesn’t sound that weird.  In other words, the sound quality is nearly the same as conventional headphones, except it leaves your ears open to be able to hear what’s going on around you. This makes it an excellent solution for people with visual impairments who need to maintain an awareness of their surroundings while listening to music, a screen reader, or navigational instructions while on the go.

Aftershokz come in several different models: there's wired and wireless, with microphones or without, a myriad of different colors, and even a smaller version that is a perfect fit for kids!


Image of a pair of Smart Glasses with Aira installedFor those people who have been living in a cave for the past six months and haven’t heard about Aira (which TIME magazine recently awarded one of 2018’s Best Inventions), we’ll go ahead and give a brief rundown. Aira is a service that connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely-located agents. Through an app on your smartphone, or through an optional pair of Horizon Smart Glasses, Aira delivers instant access to visual information at the touch of a button – allowing a trained agent to essentially ‘see’ whatever the Glasses or smartphone camera is seeing and subsequently advise the user of information crucial or relevant to them. Aira opens the door for a level of increased independence for the visually impaired community and can be used from everything from helping a visually impaired user in the kitchen acting as a sighted guide for a Marathon runner (yup, that actually happened).

The Aira service has several different subscription plans give users a certain amount of minutes of service, so you have plenty of flexibility when it comes to choosing what would work best for you or your loved one. A great choice for any visually impaired  user!


Image of the software box of ZoomText Screen Magnification SoftwareFor our last idea, we’re going big! How big, you ask? Well how about 60 times bigger than normal! That's the amount of magnification that our last gift idea brings to text on a computer screen. ZoomText Magnification software installs on any Windows based PC or laptop and allows users to magnify anything on screen to up to 60x. Easy to use and highly adjustable, ZoomText is a great gift for anyone suffering from low vision or susceptible to eye strain when trying to read from a monitor. There’s even a version that has an integrated speech option that will read text to you and echo your keystrokes for those requiring a bit of an extra level of assistance.

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