Summary: Wall Street Journal Online 11.7.02
Some Cutting-Edge Gadgets
To Even the Playing Field
By STACY FORSTER
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
For many years, reading a new prescription label from her doctor caused Ellen Mangan distress.
The retired New York City school teacher lost most of her vision in 1976 because of uveitis, an
inflammatory eye disease that can cause permanent vision damage if not caught in time. Losing
her sight also meant losing much of her freedom and control over information, she says.
But since February, Ms. Mangan, 59 years old, has been learning to use the Internet with the help
of ZoomText, a Windows-based software from Ai Squared in Manchester Center, Vt., which
magnifies content on a computer screen and reads it out loud. Now, when she has a question
about a medication, she goes to the Web to do research herself, checking on side effects and
recommendations for dosages. She also finds herself sending e-mails to long-lost friends and
reading her hometown newspaper.
"It's opened up a whole new world to me," she says.
There are all sorts of devices to help people take full advantage of technologies like the Web and
mobile phones. Modifications or add-ons to cellphones, for example, give someone who is hard
of hearing the ability to keep in touch with the office just like their counterparts with full hearing,