AssessScope project: Accessible light microscope for users with upper limb mobility or visual impairments

Jul 2, 2013, 13:13 PM
Mansoor, A., Ahmed, W.M., Samarapungawan, A., Cirillo, J., Schwarte, D., Robinson, J.P. & Duerstock, B.S. (2010). AssessScope project: Accessible light microscope for users with upper limb mobility or visual impairments. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 5, 2, 143-152.


  • Grade/Age Level: Middle school and high school
  • Specific Difficulty Addressed: Difficulty accessing light microscopes in individuals with upper limb mobility impairments and low vision
  • Type of AT Used: AccessScope, web-based application to remotely view a light microscopy workstation Setting: This study took place in schools with internet access.



  • Workstation included a PC, research light microscope, digital camera, motorized state with auto slide loader and adjustable worktable.
  • AccessScope demonstrated compatibility with ZoomText, JAWS, Microsoft accessibility programs, StickyKeys and MouseKeys.
  • Although AccessScope is designed to be controlled entirely by a keyboard, alternative mice, keyboards and speech recognition tools were available to participants. 
  • AccessScope is accessed using Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • 10 participants with permanent upper limb mobility impairment or visual impairment were included in this study.
  • The study combined student qualitative and quantitative assessments of usability and effectiveness.
  • Participants studied a slide using both AccessScope and a micrograph before taking a 6 question quiz.


  • Universal design features were identified for the AccessScope, since most users used the keyboard (although some with upper limb mobility impairments used a mouse or trackball).
  • Participants reported the greatest benefit was independent operation.
  • The most common weakness was slow response time to user command on the web based application.
  • Participants reported choosing not to take STEM related classes or majors due to their disability.
  • Subjects requested visual or auditory cues when commands were initiated.
  • Participants performed better on the test with a digital slide, but authors believe practice effects were significant since most subjects had never used a microscope before.
  • STEM