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ILAB Laboratory Tools

Sci-Voice Access Software

Image showing the Talking Labquest LoggerPro.  With the use of Sci-Voice Access Software, data collection and analysis are possible for a student who is blind or low vision.

Talking LabQuest - Data Collection Tool

This handheld tool has been equipped with Sci-Voice Access Software to allow measurements to be announced through speech in real-time. With a simplified user interface, this device has been adapted for the blind to be able to collect data from over 70 different sensors from the original hardware manufacturer, Vernier Software and Technology. Commonly used are pH, Temperature, Salinity, Motion. View the available sensors

Navigate the device with text-to-speech; change the announcement settings, and record collected data all without a sighted aide.

Use the on-board periodic table with up to 20 elemental descriptors for easy, on the go reference to the table. (Includes name, symbol, melting point, atomic weight, discoverer and date, etc.) Click to learn more about the accessible periodic table.

Image of the talking LabQuest.  Use the talking labquest in the lab to announce and record scientific data in real-time.

Talking Logger Pro - Data Analysis Software

Use Logger Pro with Sci-Voice Access software to hear and perform advanced analysis functions of the collected data, including integrals, tangents, curve fits and more. Integrate the Talking LabQuest as an interface with the Logger Pro and Sci-Voice Access Software to directly collect data on to your computer. The software is compatible with Window EyesTM and JAWS screen readers. Collect data with talking, real-time sensor readings. Navigate collected data through tables with text-to-speech, hear your plotted data with the audio trace graph feature, and perform high-level data analysis: integrals, tangents, curve fits, and more. Click here to view a video demonstration.

Image of the LoggerPro.  Text-to-speech enables navigation through the logger pro computer software for a student who is blind.

Laboratory bench

A properly designed laboratory bench is one of the most important elements of safe and effective laboratory practice for low vision students. The laboratory bench pictured below was designed by Dr. Lillian Rankel at Hopewell Valley Central High School.

In this picture, the bench is set up for an acid-base titration. A Vernier drop counter, pH electrode and buret are on the right side of the bench above a magnetic stir plate. In front of the stir plate and to the right is a balance that is connected to a laptop computer. In front of the computer on the left side of the lab bench is the ILAB Submersible Audible Light Sensor (SALS) probe. To the far left is a green waste container and a roll of paper towels on the rod to the ring stand. The ring stand poles have a brightly colored tennis ball on top as a visual cue and to prevent injury. A flat container (not shown) holds a variety of notched, Braille labeled syringes.

Image showing a high school chemistry laboratory bench adapted for use by a low-vision student.

Handheld submersible audible light sensor

We have recently completed a simple hand-held, submersible audible light sensor (SALS) prototype. The SALS provides readings of light levels in real time as an audible tone, with the pitch indicating the light level. The SALS is useful for detecting the formation of precipitates in reactions as well as color changes of indicators in acid-base titrations. The SALS probe can be switched for a submersible conductivity probe that is useful, for example, for determining the level of the water-organic meniscus in a separatory funnel.

Click here for a movie showing the use of the SALS with the iodine clock reaction (1.7 MB .mov file)

Color identifiers

The Color Analysis Laboratory Sensor (CALS) is an inexpensive color recognizer prototype that was developed in the Chemistry Electronics Shop at Penn State. The CALS consists of a hand-held probe connected to a digital controller box. The CALS reports the color of a solid object or surface (e.g., a powder in the chemistry laboratory, a piece of fabric, or color in a picture) to the user. Before use, the sensor is calibrated by holding the probe up to a piece of white paper. The probe is then held above the test object (e.g., a powder, a sheet of colored paper, or a colored liquid), and the controller box speaks the color. The user can also choose to have the CALS report the color numerically as a series of red, green, blue (RGB) and white color values.

Image showing the CALS sensor probe above a colored solution.    Image showing the CALS controller box and the test tube sensor

The SALS and CALS are prototypes and not yet commercially available products, but are used by students and educators who are part of the ILAB project. Please visit the Contact tab at the left if you would like to find out about using these devices in your classroom.

The Color Detector, by G.P. Imports, Inc. This application for an iPhone, iPad, and other devices will let you "detect" ANY color out of more than 10 million options and uses innovative TEXT TO SPEECH routines to say the color aloud.

Some of the materials presented here are based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants HRD-0435656 and HRD-0726417. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.