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Merlin machine magnifies media of all types

July 16, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

Ella Maxwell, 81, of Slippery Rock is delighted with the capabilities of the Merlin LCD magnifier in the Slippery Rock Library.

SLIPPERY ROCK — Ella Maxwell used her fingertips to slide an old photograph while she turned a knob to magnetize the image on a screen.

“That has to be at the railroad at Grove City — out at the old Bessemer plant,” said Maxwell of Slippery Rock about the photographed location. “It's amazing this machine can do this. I've had cataract surgery, but still this is so clear to me.”

Maxwell, 81, whose family has lived in Slippery Rock for generations, looked through an old photo collection another patron left for people to find anyone they could recognize.

The Slippery Rock Community Library offer patrons no-cost access to its Merlin LCD, a full-color, autofocus video magnifier system by Enhanced Vision that lets people with low vision, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma and cataracts read, write and regain their visual independence.

Maxwell uses the machine about two or three times a week to magnify items, including recipes and cookbooks, with smaller text, she said.

Although she is new user to the machine and not that familiar with computers, learning how to use Merlin was fairly simple, Maxwell said.

“It's so easy to learn how to work it,” she said. “You just turn it on and you can use pictures, cookbooks, books that you're reading ... it's so nice you can put anything under here.”

This is an excerpt from a story that appeared in Tuesday's Butler Eagle.