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USA: Researchers to Develop Robotic Device to Help People with Vision Disabilities
A project at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that could help millions of people with vision disabilities will move forward thanks to funding from the National Institutes of Health. About 25 million Americans live with significant vision disability, according to the American Foundation for the blind, and Dr. Cang Ye, a UALR professor in the Department of Systems Engineering, aims to make their lives easier with his upcoming research, funded by a National Institutes of Health grant.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/09/16/researchers-to-develop-robotic-device-to-help-people-with-vision-disabilities/, September 18, 2015

How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Companies
The evolution of products into intelligent, connected devices—which are increasingly embedded in broader systems—is radically reshaping companies and competition. Smart thermostats control a growing array of home devices, transmitting data about their use back to manufacturers. Intelligent, networked industrial machines autonomously coordinate and optimize work. Cars stream data about their operation, location, and environment to their makers and receive software upgrades that enhance their performance or head off problems before they occur. Products continue to evolve long after entering service. The relationship a firm has with its products—and with its customers—is becoming continuous and open-ended.
From https://hbr.org/2015/10/how-smart-connected-products-are-transforming-companies, September 17, 2015

Understanding Disability: Rise of Technology Benefits Visually Impaired
Trapp said there are still barriers in education for a blind or visually impaired person, because “students who are entering college must have excellent computer skills to function in the modern college setting, and many blind children are not getting the same level of access as their sighted peers. In addition, educational software is not always accessible to persons using screen readers,” said Trapp. Higher educational institutions have faced increased scrutiny for inaccessible learning technologies for individuals who are blind.
From http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/health_and_science/understanding-disability-rise-of-technology-benefits-visually-impaired/article_a20cb8f7-5fea-573d-91fe-e247b5eb86a1.html, September 17, 2015

IBM: Placing Accessibility at the Forefront of Design and DevOps
To make it easier for organizations to create accessible applications and content, IBM has released two new cloud-based accessibility services on IBM Bluemix. The services, Digital Content Checker and Automated Accessibility Tester, provide greater availability of accessibility so organizations can speed development efforts, create more personalized experiences through any contact point, and help conform to industry standards and government regulations.
From https://developer.ibm.com/bluemix/2015/09/15/accessibility-services-on-bluemix/, September 16, 2015

How a Simple Browser Add-On is Changing the Way Visually Impaired People Use the Web
Last month, Parsley presented Depict, a crowd-sourced image description tool that could change the experience of the browsing the web for the blind and visually impaired. The tool works in two parts—a browser extension for blind users that provides user-created descriptions of images around the Internet, and a website for sighted users to provide those requested descriptions. If a blind user clicks on an image of an apple tree, which is not properly described in the HTML code, the photo will appear on the crowd-sourced website where sighted users can write “apple tree.” The highest rated description based on sighted user votes will then replace the original description, and be read aloud to any blind user that scrolls over the photograph in the future. Parsley’s husband Jason Sanders helped her develop the final iteration of Depict, which is now available as an extension on Google Chrome browsers.
From http://magazine.good.is/articles/depict-accessibility-visual-impairment-web-browsing, September 16, 2015

Braille Tablet Can Convert Text for Blind Users and Let Them Read, Write and Chat
We have seen technology springing up in many forms to empower those that are visually impaired. In Madrid, Touching the Prado was an exhibition where creators printed 3D replicas of masterpieces that visually impaired visitors can touch and explore. Touch Graphics similarly make interactive, touch-sensitive maps, which give audio directions to blind users. Now, also combing the sense of touch with new tech, is Blitlab, an Austrian company planning to release a responsive Braille tablet.
From http://www.springwise.com/braille-tablet-convert-text-blind-users-read-write-chat/, September 16, 2015

Future of the Internet of Things and the Connected Business
Every few years, IT communities become awash with new buzzwords and trends that early adopters declare as the next big thing and skeptics decry as impractical and over-hyped. Over time, some fizzle out because of low industry acceptance, while others go on to really disrupt the industry. From smart cars to watches and even homes, connected technologies are already changing consumer lives, fueling growing expectations and apprehensions. Last year, the government demonstrated its belief in the future potential of technology when it pledged to spend GBP45m to develop the IoT, more than doubling the funds available to the UK technology firms developing everyday devices that can communicate over the internet.
From http://iotworldnews.com/2015/08/sixth-sensors-the-future-of-the-internet-of-things-and-the-connected-business/, September 16, 2015

US-EU Standards Must be Harmonized to Advance Accessibility
Making technology accessible to persons with disabilities is a critical issue to which we need to play closer attention. Within the government, the issue often falls on a federal chief information officers' long list of to-dos, rather than being a central focus. While recognizing that federal CIOs have a broad set of responsibilities and that there are many critical issues that they manage, we must place a focused eye on whether the issue of accessibility is getting the attention it should.
From http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/us-eu-standards-must-be-harmonized-advance-accessibility/2015-08-20, September 15, 2015

Enabling Smart Cities With IoT
Justin Anderson is sympathetic to this assessment. As the chairman of Flexeye, vice chair of techUK’s Internet of Things Council, and a leader of government-funded tech consortium Hypercat and London regeneration project Old Oak Common, he is uniquely positioned to comment on the technological development of our urban spaces.
From http://iotworldnews.com/2015/08/enabling-smart-cities-with-iot/, September 15, 2015

Internet of Things is Already Here, Start Building Better IoT Experience
The Internet of Things isn’t coming; it’s already here. The business challenge isn’t how to implement the technology, but rather how to make it more useful. We already take advantage of the IoT through our cell phones and the sensors they contain, such as GPS and Bluetooth. The next wave of IoT is when we will start making our environment smarter. But to understand how that will happen, you need to really understand what IoT is.
From http://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2015/09/14/internet-of-things-is-already-here-so-start-building-a-better-iot-experience/, September 15, 2015

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