Vint Cerf: Consider Disability at the Outset for Accessible Products
Designing technological products that can be used by everyone, regardless of whether or not they have any disability, would be a win-win situation, a meeting has heard. “To think that you can apply some kind of magic pixie dust and make a technology accessible to disabled people after it’s been designed is just crazy,” Vint Cerf, a vice president at Google, told the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition meeting in Washington DC, United States.
From http://www.scidev.net/global/technology/news/consider-disability-at-the-outset-tech-designer-told.html, February 17, 2014
IBM Standardizing on EPUB to Reduce Digital Barriers and Increase Mobile Support
International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaboration to develop a white paper highlighting lessons learned from IBM’s recent decision to support EPUB as the company’s primary packaged portable document format. EPUB is the widely adopted open standard format, for digital publications, developed by IDPF, based on HTML5 and other technologies from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as well as technologies from IDPF. IDPF is a trade and standards association with over 300 members in over 45 countries. Increased client demand for mobile solutions, accessibility through the cloud, and the transformational opportunities both pose for enterprise content are the key drivers for IBM’s move to the next-generation portable document format. By standardizing on EPUB, IBM is also extending its leadership in accessibility and delivering a richer user experience and engagement.
From http://idpf.org/news/ibm_adopts_epub, February 14, 2014
USA: FCC Chairman's Accessibility Awards Nomination Period Opening
Nominations for this year’s Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman’s AAA) will be accepted soon. Part of the FCC’s Accessibility and Innovation Initiative (A&I
Initiative), the awards honor outstanding private and public sector ventures that advance accessibility for people with disabilities. Ventures may include mainstream or assistive technologies introduced into the marketplace, development of standards, and implementation of best practices that foster accessibility. Winners and honorable mentions will receive their awards from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in June 2014. The exact date and location will be announced in the future.
From http://www.fcc.gov/document/chairmans-accessibility-awards-nomination-period-opening, February 14, 2014
Greece: Vodafone Launches Speaking App for Users with Vision Disabilities
Vodafone Greece has launched the Vodafone Speaking App for users who are blind or low vision. The application has a text-to-speech functionality for Android devices, offers reading of Greek text in email, SMS and the internet, as well as the user’s telephone contacts. Contract subscribers or Vodafone Kartomobile subscribers can download the Vodafone Speaking App from Google Play store.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/02/10/vodafone-launches-speaking-app-for-users-with-vision-disabilities/, February 12, 2014
USA: AFB to Recognize Independence Science with Access Award
A Purdue Research Park-based company that strengthens hands-on experiments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses for students who are blind or low vision will be recognized by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB).
Independence Science Inc., founded by Purdue University alumnus Cary Supalo, will receive the American Foundation for the Blind’s Access Award at the organization’s 2014 Leadership Conference, Feb. 27-March 1 in New York. Previous winners of the American Foundation for the Blind’s Access Award include Apple, CBS, Google, IBM, McDonald’s and Panasonic.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/02/10/afb-to-recognize-independence-science-with-access-award/, February 12, 2014
New Zealand: Technology Makes Big Difference for People with Hearing Disabilities
Technology is a significant part of the answer for over 700,000 individuals with hearing disabilities in New Zealand who have some level of hearing loss. Access to hearing aids, cochlear impacts and captioning make a world of difference to their lives. In celebration of Hearing Week 2014, The National Foundation for the Deaf is highlighting the importance of technology aids and their benefits on the lives of people with hearing disabilities.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/02/07/technology-makes-big-difference-for-people-with-hearing-disabilities/, February 12, 2014
USA: Student Develops Braille Printer with Legos
Shubham Banerjee, a San Francisco Bay Area seventh grade student, has developed BRAIGO, a Braille printer using Lego Mindstorms EV3, which slashes the price of a printer from more than $2000 to $350, thereby giving a more cost-effective printer. According to WHO reports, there are an estimated 285 million people with vision disabilities worldwide, 90 percent of whom lives in developing countries. At this moment, the cost of a Braille printer is more than $2000 for a basic version, which means many millions of people across the world have limited access.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/02/06/student-develops-braille-printer-with-legos/, February 12, 2014
Kuwait Develops Braille Reading, Printing Techniques
Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) on Saturday reaffirmed keenness on developing new techniques for serving people who are blind or low vision. The Institute has developed, for the first time, a domestic Braille-reading technique for the Holy Quran, it said in a statement, noting that Kuwait used to import such techniques from other Arab countries.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/02/10/kuwait-develops-braille-reading-printing-techniques/, February 11, 2014
Eighth Session of the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
International Disability Alliance (IDA) chair Mr. Yannis Vardakastanis addressed United Nations (UN) Member States, UN agencies and civil society at the UN Headquarters in New York today, calling for a post-2015 sustainable development agenda that is inclusive of persons with disabilities.
From http://www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/en, February 10, 2014
Microsoft Announces Improved Access to Office to Benefit Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Microsoft and GW Micro are partnering to provide people who are blind or have low vision improved access to Microsoft Office. Starting today, customers who have purchased and installed any version of Microsoft Office 2010 or 2013, including both perpetual and subscription clients, are eligible to download a free copy of Window-Eyes, GW Micro’s widely used and highly regarded screen reading software.
From http://blogs.office.com/2014/01/14/announcing-improved-access-to-office/, February 10, 2014