There are many devices to help the visually impaired. Some are really good and others not so much. Some of the best are quite expensive. Of these are the video magnifiers that have a combination camera and monitor. The camera points down at what is to be read and projects it to the monitor. Well, I've built my own and saved well over $1,000.
First, here is what you can buy on the market now. They range in price from $1,500 to $3,100.
Arkon Tablet Stand. $38.23
VGA cable. $8.64VGA to iPad 3 connector. $29.95
I looked at many iPad apps for this and have settled upon Vision Assist because it has some nice features beyond what the camera and it's zoom capabilities. Vision Assist not only has zoom but brightness, reverse text and can even change the background to yellow with black or blue text. These are common capabilities found low vision magnifying viewers. Vision Assist works on the iPhone too so you can even carry this with you for reading menus in restaurants, theatre programs, etc. Vision Assist costs $5.99.
I've found 2 other uses for this device. I recently did a comparison of Android and iOS phones and used my device to project the phones to a screen. Instead of a TV I connected the iPad to a projector. Participants were as curious about my home made device as they were with the phones. I can change to scanning software on the iPad and take a picture of a document and convert it to a PDF for e-mailing or faxing right from the iPad. No need for a FAX machine or copier.