Adaptive Technologies at the U

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Summary: Adaptive technology (AT) is "any object or system that is specifically designed for the purpose of increasing or maintaining the capabilities of people with disabilities." The University officially supports these, although there are more to consider.

Adaptive technologies supported at the U

These adaptive technologies are supported at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (but note if you're just curious and want to dabble with these adaptive technologies you're better off watching the video demonstrating several AT's on the Overview of Adaptive Technologies page. AT's have a high learning curve for the inexperienced user and most need to be purchased for use):


JAWS for Windows (JFW) by Freedom Scientific

Windows-based application that captures text-based output and speaks it using synthesized speech AKA: Text To Speech (TTS) — or sends it to a refreshable Braille display. Hotkey combinations provide access to reading, navigational and system controls.


Voiceover for Apple OSX AND iOS devices by Apple, Inc.

Apple OSX and iOS application that captures text-based output and speaks it using synthesized speech AKA: Text To Speech (TTS) — or sends it to a refreshable Braille display. Hotkey combinations or finger gestures provide access to reading, navigational and system controls.


ZoomText by AI Squared

Windows-based application for magnifying the output on a computer display. Magnification options include full screen, parts of the screen or a magnifying glass view of the area around the cursor or pointer. Additional features include screen and document reading, foreground and background color customization, reverse video modes, enhanced pointer viewing and tracking options.


Kurzweil 3000 by Kurzweil Educational Systems

Windows-based text-to-speech synthesizer for reading scanned or electronic documents aloud. User-selectable reading units (words, lines, sentences and paragraphs) can be highlighted for easier tracking. Words are highlighted as they are spoken. This auditory and visual presentation of information helps increase reading accuracy, speed and comprehension.


Kurzweil 1000 by Kurzweil Educational Systems

A scan-and-read system for use by people who are blind or severely visually impaired. Kurzweil 1000, in concert with a document scanner, converts printed text to synthesized speech.


Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Nuance Communications. Allows users to create and edit documents (dictation), browse the Web and operate a computer (command and control) using speech alone. Enables a person who is unable to use their hands or must limit their use to move cursors and pointers, perform keystrokes, carry-out system functions and create documents without touching the mouse or keyboard. Aids users with learning disabilities in the writing process.

These technologies are available in two Adaptive Technology labs located on the Twin Cities campus.

The following adaptive technologies are also available in each of the OIT Computer Facilities across the Twin Cities campuses:

  • JAWS for Windows
  • Voiceover (Mac)
  • ZoomText
  • Kurzweil 3000 (Please use the username and password provided by the Disability Resource Center)

Note: Please bring your own headphones for speech output or headset for speech recognition.


On-campus labs

Elliott S106, East bank

Access to the Elliott S106 adaptive technology lab must be arranged in advance with the Computer Accommodations Program. The lab contains two workstations.

Wilson 307, West bank

A key to the lab may be acquired from the first floor Circulation Desk. If the key is unavailable, it indicates that the door to the lab is unlocked and at least one of the four workstations is in use.
Adaptive technology labs may be accessed during building hours.

Elliott Hall Hours ?

Wilson Library Hours 

For technical issues, assistance with adaptive technology, or other technology-related questions, please contact the Computer Accommodations Program.
Computer Accommodations Program
Phil: 612-626-0365
Tonu: 612-625-3307

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