MDev_Reader app for those suffering with macular degeneration now available on Android platform

Following a successful project where Humboldt worked with a team at Royal Holloway University to build an app to help those suffering with macular degeneration to read text on an iPad, the company has just completed its second part of the project, an app for the Android platform.

Macular degeneration is a painless eye condition that leads to the gradual loss of central vision. Central vision is used to see what is directly in front of you, when reading or watching television for example. For those suffering with macular degeneration, the central vision becomes increasingly blurred leading to symptoms including difficulty reading printed or written text because it appears blurry, with less vibrant colours.

The original and new app has been designed to test ‘eccentric viewing’, which scrolls the text at a steady pace through the reader’s peripheral vision, enabling those with macular degeneration to read text. The app, which is free and now available for both Android and iPad, lets readers read text from an eBook (or any ePub document) to be scrolled in a single line, much like a news ticker tape. Users can adjust the speed of scrolling using the track pad to find a comfortable reading speed on the screen that suits them.

The app also means users can change text size, text colour and background colours as well as the speed of scrolling. It also includes a movable fixation point on the screen to help people to use their best point of vision. Text can also be scrolled backwards as well as forwards, so if a word is missed, the user can scroll backwards to recap. There is also a screen with a menu of all readable books and documents that is searchable.

To install the App, users will need a Google Play account. Once this has been set up, search for MDev_Reader on Google Play and follow the on screen instructions to download and install the app.

The Macular Society relies on donations and gifts to deliver its services and search for a cure for macular disease. To help people with central vision loss by making a donation visit their website at

For more information about eccentric viewing and steady eye, contact the Macular Society on 0300 30 30 111 or look at the website:

Why Android is winning

We’re hearing so much about Android at the moment in our line of work. We’re still developing iOS applications of course, because the operating system is very much part of our world. It’s necessary for consumer applications, and great for organisations large enough to use the Enterprise Program and who can run an in-house app store.

However, Android has many advantages for businesses large and small, as well as for end users.

For a start it gives complete control and the same freedom old Windows mobile devices offered. So, for instance, a small company could buy ten handsets of their choice and load their in-house application without having to ask permission. And there’s no bureaucracy.

There’s a wide choice of hardware too. Android is available on low-end phones, high-end smartphones, cheap tablets, and robust, weatherproof devices like the Panasonic Toughpad.

It’s also available on processor modules for integration directly in to your own hardware.

Then there’s the ease with which user interfaces can be developed such as modern touch-based screens. And it supports development of USB device drivers, which can control custom hardware.

Android also enables custom application launchers for single purpose devices, and it’s possible to ship a completely customised Android image on your own hardware.

So while there’s still a place for iOS, Android is winning the operating systems war.