Talking pointer is the star product at CNIB's new Vancouver store

This is pretty cool!

Clerk Kathelean Jordan, who was born blind, points a pen-like doohickey at a tiny label on a tin can and smiles broadly as it correctly announces, "Heinz Pork and Beans."
The doohickey is called the PenFriend and it's the star attraction at the newly opened CNIB store on Joyce Street where Jordan works.
Recognizing the growing number of people facing vision loss in Canada, the CNIB has opened stores full of amazing gadgets to help people manage their own affairs.
The Vancouver store, located at the CNIB office, has more than 70 gadgets that shoppers can test out before buying. Things such as talking watches, talking or very large calculators, playing cards with high contrast and large numbers, a giant remote control that besides being readable won't get lost in the couch cushions.
The PenFriend is one of the newer gadgets available and Jordan says at $150 it is totally worth it.
It's an MP3 tool that comes with special labels, on which people can record detailed information about objects like cans of food, pill bottles and even clothing. When they point the pen at the label, it announces the pre-recorded information.
"For the visually impaired, this is one of the best things that has ever happened," she says. "You can label cans, you can label pill containers with all the directions on them that you can't read. It is a wonderful tool in the kitchen, in the bathroom, at work for your files. There is no end to what it can be used for.
"I have ordered lots of them in for clients."
The store is loaded with other cool aids too, like the level indicator ($20.65) that prevents you from over-pouring your tea or coffee. It hangs over the cup rim and emits a high-pitched whine when the cup is nearly full.
"It's nice for when you have company and don't want to use your finger," says Jordan.
The CNIB used to operate a store, but it was replaced by an online service two years ago. That was problematic for people who couldn't see the screen, weren't computer literate, or wanted to be sure the talking watch didn't sound like their ex.
Jordan says even the simplest products like magnifiers shouldn't be purchased without first testing to make sure they are the correct level.
Local CNIB executive director John Mulka said they got feedback from clients frustrated by the online service and decided to reopen the store.
L Gilbert
Gotta love technology like this.Wonder if I can rent one to see if my mother can use it. I think her fave toy is the ufo talking clock. lol

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