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Request for Proposal for Handheld Portable Digital Magnifier with OCR

May 2, 2019

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is to help the American Printing House (APH) seek a potential partner to provide a handheld portable digital magnifier with OCR to be sold by APH that meets the unique learning and independent living needs of our target customers. APH will consider all proposals for existing, modified, or new devices, with the goal of making an affordable, effective, quality handheld portable digital magnifier available to our customers on or before March 2020. This RFP does not guarantee that a contract award will be made.

Table of Contents

Request for Proposal Specifications

American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Overview

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation that has served our nation’s citizens who are blind and visually impaired since before the Civil War. Founded in 1858, APH is the oldest company in the U.S. dedicated to creating products for people who are blind or visually impaired and is the largest organization of its kind in the world. APH has a wide range of products and services such as educational materials, software, braille, large print, digital textbooks, and accessible tests. In addition, APH is viewed as an important source of information and a thought leader throughout the industry.

The mission of the American Printing House for the Blind is to promote the independence of people who are blind and visually impaired by providing specialized materials, products, and services needed for education and life. Much of APH’s mandate is derived from the Federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind of 1879. Through the Act, we work to level the learning playing field by providing technology and products that open the doors to educational success, satisfying employment, social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal well-being.

Learn more about APH at

Our Audience

In general, APH has a very wide range of audiences for our products, services, and information. This includes students of all ages, service providers, professionals, consumers, organizations needing services, providers, professionals, government agencies, employees, and the general public. For the purposes of planning the design and function of this project, the target markets for the requested handheld portable digital magnifier are as follows:

Primary market: Students ages 5-17

Primary users of the handheld magnifier will be school-age students with a wide range of different visual impairments who may be attending schools for the blind or in public school settings with varying degrees of experience with access technology from beginner to advanced. Teachers, teacher aides, and access/assistive technology specialists who work with these students and teach them how to use the device will also have varying degrees of competency in technology. The purpose of the device for these customers is to assist the student in completing classwork, which can include reading, writing, and examining classroom objects. Because some students will be very young, and will drop and roughly handle the device, it must be durable.

Secondary market: Adults participating in vision rehabilitation programs, employment, and daily living

Secondary users of the handheld magnifier will be adults and seniors with a wide range of different visual impairments who will have varying degrees of experience with technology and with access/assistive technology in particular. It is highly likely that these users will have recently lost their vision as adults or are low vision and losing vision rapidly. These individuals are participating in a rehabilitation program to learn new skills for daily living and employment. These customers will be using the device for daily activities such as reading, examining prescription bottles, doing household finances, working on hobbies and crafts, etc. or for employment work such as reading, examining paperwork, and reviewing objects carefully. Rehabilitation counselors working with these adults typically have a general knowledge of magnifiers and access/assistive technology.

Tertiary market: College students who have a visual impairment

Tertiary users include college students who may receive loaner assistive technology equipment from a college disability office to assist in their classwork. Magnifiers are used in the classroom for reading, examining papers, and taking tests and for studying after class. They may also be needed for special projects, examining objects, or for social and leisure activities. Students typically use the magnifiers independently, and may or may not receive an orientation from the disability office representative.

Proposal Requirements and Preferences

APH is committed to ensuring our customers have access and choices in low vision technology and we are seeking solutions that meet the learning and living needs of our customers. Please note that a primary goal of this device is that young children will be able to reach their arms around it and write on paper that is behind the magnifier. Vendors are encouraged to offer their unique solutions, expertise, and creativity to their proposals and demonstrate the best and most innovative solution they have available within the following parameters:


  • 7” or 8” screen
  • button and touch screen combo
  • built in stand with optional fold up stand for full page image
  • near/ distance view / self-viewing camera
  • camera option between near and distance angle that allows for easier student writing
  • full page OCR with optional connectivity to external camera and/or optional stand
  • column labeling
  • headphone jack
  • matte screen
  • ongoing level 2 and above customer service, product support and repairs
  • weight of less than 3 pounds
  • adjustable lines and masks in black
  • on/off LED lights


  • 2x-30x magnification
  • TTS magnification 1.3x – 8x
  • charging time of 2 hours
  • continuous battery use of 4 hours
  • storage of 1000 images
  • USB, HDMI, thumb drive file import capable
  • reads 20 languages
  • Target unit cost of $690
  • pinch and zoom and panning gestures (panning preferred over pinch and zoom)
  • adjustable LED lights
  • 16 combinations of color contrast, can change on frozen and saved images
  • sleek, modern design
  • HD camera
  • auto focus that stabilizes quickly in higher magnification
  • Hard shell or padded carry case with strap
  • reads menus in text-to-speech
  • displays magnification level, battery consumption, color contrast
  • swivel camera makes writing easier
  • 800 x 480 pixels
  • computer input and output
  • reads PDF files

Educational Enhancements

All APH products available on the federal mandate (quota) must be unique to APH customers. If a vendor is proposing a solution that is already on the market, it must be customized to meet the unique needs of APH customers, and sensitive to the very specific learning and living goals of our market. The nature of these suggested enhancements are to be proposed by the vendor. The enhancements are to be included in the price of the product to APH. A separate custom development cost requirement for these enhancements is not a consideration. If you are able to provide all of the specifications in this RFP, you will provide a unique product.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated on the following:

  • Understanding of the needs of APH customers, and the environments in which they learn and live.
  • Timing and ability to commence supplying a product.
  • Ability to reliably supply product to meet demand of approximately 500 units annually.
  • Price of product
  • Candidate’s reliable history of supplying a like-kind product to market within proposed delivery schedule
  • Ability to provide both warranty and out-of-warranty service to customers
  • Candidate’s reliable history of product service and maintenance
  • Candidate’s ability to provide enhancements and updates based on customer feedback
  • Overall specifications and innovative features of device, proposed customizations of device if any, and strength of proposal
  • Review of candidate’s manufacturing facilities, processes, and policies
  • Proposed payment terms


Vendors may offer a pricing proposal that recovers costs through unit costs to APH only, or a combination of unit cost and an investment toward the R&D costs of the handheld magnifier. If the proposal includes an R&D investment, the vendor must clearly specify the percentage or description of the intellectual property that APH will own as a result and explain how that determination was made.

Project Timeline

May 2, 2019: RFP Release
May 20, 2019: Vendor Question Deadline
May 24, 2019: Question Responses Posted
June 14, 2019: Proposals Due to APH
June 24 – July 12: Vendor Interviews

Send questions to Chris Prentice, Manager, Business Development,


The bid package shall include:

  • Full documentation of specifications
  • Illustration(s) or photograph(s) of handheld magnifier
  • Proposal for device APH market customization, if needed
  • Proposal for warranty, maintenance, updates, and customer service
  • Separate proposal for optional extended warranty or repairs after warranty has expired
  • Price estimates based on order of minimum of 500 per year for 3 years, and/or an initial investment in development in exchange for intellectual property
  • Proposed delivery schedule
  • Sample device, similar device, or mockup device for review (optional)

All communication about this RFP, whether electronic, verbal or hard copy, is confidential and must be considered as such by all parties involved. This RFP is meant to be a request for information and is not, and should not be considered an offer of contract. Should your proposal be selected for further discussion, a contract may be negotiated at that time, and APH’s processes for bringing a product into the federal program (quota) will be explained. APH reserves the right to modify or reject the RFP specifications during the negotiations with the vendor.

RFP proposals are due by the close of business, June 14, 2019 to:

Chris Prentice, Business Development Manager
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
Phone: 1-502-899-2329