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Amazon's Kindle Begins to Find its Voice with Text-to-Speech
Amazon is making its Kindle e-readers more accessible for visually impaired users by introducing a screen-reader feature. The VoiceView screen-reading function is now available on the Kindle Paperwhite model by plugging in the ‘Kindle Audio Adaptor’, a USB device designed by Amazon specifically for use with the Kindle. Users plug the adaptor into the Paperwhite charging jack, before plugging in headphones to the adaptor, and can then listen to e-books and navigate the Kindle interface through text-to-speech and touch-screen functionality, with eight adjustable reading speeds.
From http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=1176, May 23, 2016

World Humanitarian Summit Can Build Support for Disability-Inclusive Aid Responses: UN Expert
Speaking ahead of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit taking place in Istanbul next week, a United Nations human rights expert has urged all countries to take into account the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in their humanitarian responses.’ “The World Humanitarian Summit represents a unique opportunity to foster international support for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of humanitarian action, including awareness-raising, innovation, response, adoption of standards, participation of civil society and international cooperation,” said Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in a press release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
From http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=53985#.Vz6alJF97IU, May 20, 2016

UAE: Khalifa University Students Develop Navigation Device for People with Vision Disabilities
Students from Khalifa University have developed a device that can help people with vision disabilities navigate their surroundings, with the device being showcased as part of the university’s innovation exhibition. “During the initial planning stages of our project we contacted the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special needs and we asked them what they would like to see in a device to help people with vision disabilities, and they told us they would like to have an obstacle detection system, and so that led to the idea,” Ahmad N. Alagha told, one of the students behind the development of the project.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/19/khalifa-university-students-develop-navigation-device-for-people-with-vision-disabilities/, May 20, 2016

Disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction at Regional Asia-Pacific Conference on Gender and DRR
Between May 16 and 18, the Regional Asia-Pacific Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction took place in Hanoi, Vietnam. On the second day of the conference, the Hanoi Disabled People’s Organization (DPO Hanoi) and the Disability inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Network (DiDRRN) organized a side event on Disability-inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction. The event was attended by 40 participants, including representatives of DPOs in Vietnam, representatives of the Regional UNISDR Office, the Director of Regional UN Women, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Control/ Deputy Chief of the standing office of the Central Steering Committee on Disaster Management of Vietnam, the UNDP Senior Advisor on gender inclusion, and a number of other highly distinguished delegates.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/20/disability-inclusive-disaster-risk-reduction-at-regional-asia-pacific-conference-on-gender-and-drr/, May 20, 2016

U.S. Education Department Awards $13.4 Million in Grants to Improve Services, Outcomes for Children with Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education announced more than $13.4 million in grants to higher education institutions to fund quality personnel preparation programs to help improve services and results for students with disabilities. “We are committed to promoting equity and excellence at every level of the education system,” said Sue Swenson, acting assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. “These grants will give special education teachers and leaders the skills to help America’s students with disabilities achieve their academic potential.” Of the $13.4 million, more than $4.1 million is being awarded under the Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities – Leadership Personnel program. The funds will go to higher education institutions to prepare doctoral students for faculty and administrator positions in special education, early intervention and related services.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/20/u-s-education-department-awards-13-4-million-in-grants-to-improve-services-outcomes-for-children-with-disabilities/, May 20, 2016

Beijing Launches Free App to Guide People with Vision Disabilities
The free app, ‘see4me.org’, has two channels – one for people who are blind or have low vision and one for volunteers, which allows people with vision disabilities to post requests, such as medical instructions or having mail read to them. When a request is posted, it will be received and answered by volunteers. The app also enables people who are blind or have low vision and volunteers to hold live video or audio chats, and volunteers can determine those who need directions.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/05/19/beijing-launches-new-free-app-to-guide-people-with-vision-disabilities/, May 20, 2016

Report: Smart Appliances and IoT: Trends and Impact for Persons with Disabilities Older consumers and Senior Consumers
We interviewed experts in the field of design and manufacturing and supported these conversations with desktop research to uncover what the impact of these new technologies might be. In particular we asked what the home in the near future might look like for people with disabilities. This report is part of a broader investigation into inclusive design and was carried out by Rica and funded by The Thomas Pocklington Trust.
From http://pocklington-trust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Smart-Appliances.pdf, May 20, 2016

Global: Celebrating 10 Years of the CRPD
The 9th session of the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will be held from 14 to 16 June 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York. The overarching theme of this year’s session is “Implementing the 2030 development agenda for all persons with disabilities: Leaving no one behind”. The sub-themes are: eliminating poverty and inequality for all persons with disabilities; promoting the rights of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities; enhancing accessibility to information and technology and inclusive development; and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the CRPD.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/03/24/9th-session-of-the-conference-of-states-parties-to-the-crpd/, May 19, 2016

IBM: Inclusive Design Can’t Be An Afterthought
Guest post from Sara Mansell, Design Research Lead for Hybrid Integration, IBM Cloud. “It was so refreshing to hear a person outside of the accessibility department talking about accessibility,” said Gerry Ellis, an Accessibility and Usability Consultant at Feel the BenefIT, after I presented on accessible design at G3ict‘s International Briefing on Financial Services Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities. The event, held in Paris in April, hosted an international mix of financial services, accessibility and technology experts, and the European Commission. As a Design Researcher and User Experience Practitioner, I know that accessible design is something that should be considered from concept to creation, not as an afterthought during the testing phase.
From http://ageandability.com/2016/05/12/inclusive-design-cant-be-an-afterthought/?platform=hootsuite, May 19, 2016

Dubai Aiming to Be One of World’s Most Disabled-Friendly Cities by 2020
Dubai is embarking on Dh10 million study that will steer it towards becoming one of the world’s most disabled-friendly cities by 2020. Schools, hospitals, parks and transport are among the targets for change in the research, which was launched on Wednesday. By the end of the year, four pilot projects to improve access will be chosen as models to be replicated across the city by 2020.
From http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/20160413/dubai-aiming-to-be-one-of-worlds-most-disabled-friendly-cities-by-2020, May 19, 2016

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