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Essential Hardware & Software

This list of AT and Alternate Media is designed to give a snapshot of recommendations for alternate media creation, assistive technology labs, and the institution as a whole.

Essential Hardware & Software Solutions
Hardware / SoftwareAlt MediaAT LabCampus Lab
Computer x x x
Large Screen Monitor / HD Monitor 2 x x
Scanner and Printer x x x
External or Cloud-based Solution x  -  -
Braille Embosser x  -  -
CCTV x x x
Adobe Acrobat Pro x x x
Microsoft Office x x x
Screen Reader x x x
OCR Programs x  -  -
Text-to-Speech Programs x x x
Speech-to-Text Programs x x x
Duxbury Braille Translator x  -  -
MathType x  - x
Note-taking Application x x x


Computer: (minimum specs)

  • 8GB of RAM; 16GB recommended
  • 500GB SSD recommended
  • Intel® Core i5 or i7 processor (or AMD equivalent)
  • Windows 8 or higher, or macOS 10.14 Mojave or higher
  • Sound card capable of supporting 22 kHz 16-bit recording
  • TWAIN-compatible scanner


  • Full-duplex scanning
  • Full color + black and white scanning
  • Dropout color capability
  • Large feed capacity
  • 600 dpi

Example Scanners:

Monitor (two recommended)

  • Dell Ultra HD 4K Monitor P2415Q 24-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor, Black

Ergonomic Peripherals/Alternate Input



  • 11 x 17 paper large print
  • Dual Sided
  • Full color

Large external storage

  • 1TB SSD or HDD for backups
  • Cloud-based backup storage

Additional Recommended Equipment

UbiDuo Deaf Communication Device

Available in wired or wireless, with or without speech output. Purchase through SComm.

Key features include:

  • Anyone who is deaf can communicate with anyone who is hearing, no sign language interpreter necessary
  • Mobility - conversations can take place anywhere
  • One-time cost
  • No WiFi/internet connection required
  • Selectable, color modes for low-vision users

Refreshable Braille Display

Refreshable braille displays provide access to information on a computer screen by electronically raising and lowering different combinations of pins in braille cells. A braille display can show up to 80 characters from the screen and is refreshable—that is, it changes continuously as the user moves the cursor around on the screen, using either the command keys, cursor routing keys, or Windows and screen reader commands. The braille display sits on the user’s desk, often underneath the computer keyboard. The advantages of braille displays over synthetic speech are that it provides direct access to information; allows the user to check format, spacing, and spelling; and is quiet.

Braille Embosser

A braille embosser is an impact printer that renders text as tactile braille cells. It can generate printed material using the braille writing system for blind or visually impaired users. The user presses dots down onto a piece of paper to let a person using the braille system read by using their fingers.

Duxbury Pro

Duxbury Braille Translator (DBT) supports over 170 languages and can produce either uncontracted or contracted braille, mathematics, and technical braille. The software can import many document formats to then translate into braille, and sends the braille to a braille embosser or braille device.

Minimum recommended specs:

  • Microsoft Windows version Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
  • Mac OSX El Capitan (10.11), Sierra (10.12), High Sierra (10.13), or higher

Some key features include:

  • Supports all commercial braille embossers
  • Formatted for users who know braille and those who don’t
  • Compliant with ADA standards
  • Interline printing of print and braille on the same page
  • Supports import of Word 2007/2010/2013/2016, Open Office documents, Excel files, HTML, and text files
  • Can import LaTex and other mathematical files
  • Bidirectional translation for most languages

Victor Reader Stream for Daisy Books

Victor Reader Stream is a talking book player designed for blind and low-vision people. The new wireless Victor Reader offers wireless internet connectivity and fully supports DAISY online content, as opposed to older models of the equipment that required waiting for a physical copy of a book or using a computer.

Transformer HD Electronic Magnifier

The Transformer HD Electronic Magifier is a modern version of an electronic magnifier, older versions are sometimes called CCTVs. It is a portable, laptop-compatible device weighing less than 3 pounds with a rotating camera. Some example uses are a blind or low-vision student sitting reading the board in a classroom or a professional watching a presentation on their laptop.

The Transformer HD can be purchased from Enhanced Vision.

AAC Devices

This technology greatly depends on the student who is using it. AAC encompasses a wide range of nonverbal communication methods, from sign language and picture boards to mobile device apps and sophisticated, dedicated speech-generating devices (SGDs).

A major advantage of SGDs is that these devices allow an individual to say and play with words. By doing this, learners can acquire new words and language and the listener is able to understand exactly what is being expressed.

In addition, there is evidence that pairing the communicated word with voice output may help children with auditory processing of spoken language.

For those physically unable to use the touchscreen, SGDs offer flexible access options including:

  • Eye-gaze
  • Head tracking
  • Joystick and alternative mouse control
  • Single and multiple switch control