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USA: Educators Develop Maps and Graphs for Students with Visual Disabilities
Two educators at East Tennessee State University have developed maps and graphs designed to help students with visual disabilities understand geography. The new resources are now included in a collection of lab materials given to students enrolling in the online sections of the ETSU course “Earth Science: Weather and Climate.” Dr. Michelle Byrd and Ingrid Luffman created a series of tactile maps, which feature raised line images that use texture rather than color to distinguish between regions. They also added Braille labels to the maps.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/02/27/educators-develop-maps-and-graphs-for-students-with-visual-disabilities/, March 01, 2012

EU: Accessible Tourism Project Adopted as Pilot by the European Parliament
Carlo Fidanza, European People’s Party (EPP) Group member in the European Parliament recently proposed a project on accessible tourism which will soon become a pilot project of the European Commission. The proposal came at a meeting in Brussels which looked at accessibility of destinations, accommodations, and information within the EU’s new tourism strategy. It was proposed that these “become fully accessible to people with disabilities, so that they become tourists not only in name, but in their own right and increase their travel requests. This does not only represent the protection of a right but also the investment in a very strategic area of the economy”. The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 271 Members. The meeting was chaired by Adam Kosa MEP and Rosa Estaras Ferragut MEP – with the participation of the Vice President of the European Commission Antonio Tajani.
From http://www.accesstourismnz.org.nz/, February 29, 2012

USA: New ADA Standards for Accessible Design Become Effective in March 2012
The Department of Justice has issued new ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which will become effective on March 15, 2012. The standards revise regulations for both Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and ensure accessibility of “newly designed and constructed or altered State and local government facilities, public accommodations, and commercial facilities.” Technical standards included in the regulations incorporate accessibility to teletypewriter (TTY) by requiring a public TTY when public phones are provided. Standards are also included for automatic teller machines and specify that such machines must be speech enabled with easy access, including braille instructions, to initiate speech mode. The standards also require that “all displayed information for full use [of an automatic teller machine] shall be accessible to and independently usable,” while stressing that each user is entitled to personal security and privacy while in use of the machine. When assistive listening systems are provided, the 2010 standards state that they must meet “minimum performance levels for volume, interference, and distortion.”
From http://wirelessrerc.org/news/new-ada-standards-for-accessible-design-become-effective-in-march, February 28, 2012

USA: Syracuse University College of Law Launches LL.M. Program
The Master of Laws (LL.M.) for foreign students at Syracuse University College of Law is a new 24-credit hour graduate program designed to offer students with a foreign (non-U.S.) law degree or its equivalent, advanced study in American law. Applications are now being accepted through May 15, 2012 for students entering fall 2012. The program is particularly interested in enrolling students who wish to study International and Comparative Disability Law as part of the Disability Law and Policy Law Program. The Syracuse Law LL.M. program is exclusively available to graduates in law from foreign academic institutions or those who are otherwise licensed to practice law in their home jurisdictions. Individuals from diverse legal backgrounds, including corporate, government, and private practice, judicial and academic are encouraged to apply.
From www.law.syr.edu/llm-admissions, February 27, 2012

ILO Offering Training Course on “Labour Market Inclusion of People with Disabilities"
Registration is open to staff of relevant Ministries and national or international institutions, as well as Social Partners, DPOs and other civil society organizations involved in policy making, program planning and implementation or research on disability inclusion. Please note that this course is especially designed for participants from developing and middle-income countries. The course program offers the possibility to learn more about international conventions, legislation, labor market policies and new tendencies in socio-economic inclusion of people with disabilities.
From http://www.itcilo.org/en/training-offer/course-calendar, February 27, 2012

USA: G3ict Presents Special Sessions at the 2012 CSUN Conference
The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict), the flagship advocacy initiative of the United National Global Alliance for ICT and Development (UN GAID) will present and host special sessions at the 27th Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference - CSUN 2012 - between February 29 and March 1, 2012 in San Diego, California.
From http://g3ict.org/events/schedule/event_overview/p/eventId_259/id_604, February 27, 2012

Canada: CRTC Tests 911 Texting for Hearing and Speech Impaired
People with speech and hearing disabilities will soon be able to communicate with 911 services via text messages. During the three-month pilot project announced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, volunteers registered with their phone provider will make test phone calls to 911, and the dispatcher will respond with a text message to the user’s cellphone. The user can then text their situation back to the dispatcher.
From http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1132780--c, February 23, 2012

Video: US Senate Committee Meeting on Education and Accessible Technolgoy
U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions chaired a full committee hearing on the "Promise of Accessible Technology: Challenges and Opportunities" on February 7, 2012. Panel I was chaired by Eve Hill , Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice, Washington. Panel II was chaired by Mark Riccobono , Executive Director, Jernigan Institute, National Federation of the Blind, Baltimore, MD; Dr. John B. Quick , Superintendent, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, Columbus, IN; Mark Turner, M.A , Director, Center for Accessible Media, Accessible Technology Initiative, California State University, Long Beach, CA.
From http://www.help.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=15eea6a0-5056-9502-5d55-b899d73ef5f9, February 23, 2012

USA: Georgia Tech Researchers Turn an iPhone into a Braille Writer with New App
It wasn't all that long ago that we saw a student turn a tablet into a Braille writer, and now some researchers from Georgia Tech have done the same thing for smaller touchscreens, too. The Yellow Jackets produced a prototype app, called BrailleTouch, that has six keys to input letters using the Braille writing system and audio to confirm each letter as it's entered. To use the app, you simply turn the phone face down, hold it in landscape mode and start typing. As you can see above, it's currently running on an iPhone, but the researchers see it as a universal eyes-free texting app for any touchscreen. Early studies with people proficient in Braille writing show that typing on BrailleTouch is six times faster than other eyes-free texting solutions -- up to 32 words per minute at 92 percent accuracy.
From http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/18/georgia-tech-researchers-turn-an-iphone-into-a-braille-writer-wi/, February 22, 2012

USA: Nevada State Finalizes Special Driving Permits for Self-Driving Robotic Cars
A fleet of Google's robotic cars has been tested more than 200,000 miles over highways and city streets. And Nevada has finalized rules that will make it possible for robotic-self-driving cars to receive their own special driving permits. It's not quite driver's licenses for robots — but it's close. The other day I went for a spin in a robotic car. This car has an $80,000 cone-shaped laser mounted on its roof. There are radars on the front, back and sides. Detailed maps help it navigate.
From http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/02/17/147006012/when-the-car-is-the-driver, February 22, 2012

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