Skip to content
Activity and strategy

Make Your Own Portable Scan and Read Station

Therese Wilkomm shares a video demonstration of a simple assistive technology device she has created, which enables people with visual impairments to scan & read documents using a portable stand & app

Therese Wilkomm, Director of the New Hampshire Statewide Assistive Technology Program (ATinNH) with the Institute on Disability and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, shares a video demonstration of a simple scan and read station that she has created.  The transcript of the video follows below.

Reading papers and documents that are not scanned can be very difficult for someone who happens to be blind, so I’ve created this very simple portable scan and read station using an app called Text Grabber on a cell phone.

  • You just open this up and tip it like this (standing up vertically).
  • You can take a standard 9 by 12 piece of acrylic.
  • I put a couple of stoppers here and then I lined up the iPhone, so that when you put an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper in here, it just lines up perfectly.
  • There’s a stopper so if I’m visually impaired, I feel exactly where this goes. I know there’s only one way this can go in here. 
  • Then I just tap the center of it and it takes a picture of it.
  • Then I click on reading it.  It’s now recognizing it.
  • Then I can turn on Voiceover 1, 2, 3 (VoiceOver reads document), so essentially what it’s doing is it’s just reading this.
  • I also discovered that I could, instead of putting those plastic pieces, I could take a little bit of this corrugated plastic and and put that using double-sided tape and make that a stopper. Then I make a place to drop my iPhone in here like this.
  • Again I can still put my paper in here, you know, tap it, scan it.
  • What I did here, what this corner guard is, I can pick this up and I can lay an iPad there, so the camera would be right here shining down.
  • So there you have it: a portable span and reading station.
  • One last thing:  you can put a little velcro here, so that you can put your piece in here, fold it up, and now it can drop into a backpack. 
  • Just remember that this is 12 inches and this is 28 from here to here.  Take a utility knife and you just score it here and here, so it measures from eight and a half to here, and eight and a half to here.  That’s all you have to remember at eight and a half on both sides, and then this of course will be 11.  That goes on top here and voila! A portable scan and read station.

For more ideas and videos on creating assistive technology solutions in minutes, check out Therese Willkomm’s Book with DVD of how to Video Clips:   Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes II: Ordinary Items, Extraordinary Solutions.
Apps and technology


Liam using refreshable braille.
Activity and strategy

Snowman Texting Scavenger Hunt: Supporting Telecommunication Goals


An Essay Contest for the Benefits of Audio Description in Education