UK: RLSB’s Wayfindr App Helps the Blind Nagivate the London Underground
The London subway system can difficult be difficult to navigate for tourists and locals alike. London's blind and visually impaired commuters have an additional layer of difficulty added to their daily subway travels. Without being able to clearly see any signage, their daily commute could range from a hassle to downright dangerous as they navigate stairs and train platforms. The Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) paired with developers UsTwo to create Wayfindr, an app that helps the blind and visually impaired find their way around the London underground.
From http://www.slashgear.com/rlsbs-wayfindr-app-helps-the-blind-nagivate-the-london-underground-09372589/, April 22, 2015
Swedish App Massively Expands Audio Described Cinema
A new mobile app provided through Sweden’s Available Cinema project will increase the number of audio described cinema sessions from 150 to 150,000 each year. According to the project manager, Lisa Wacklin, audio description was previously delivered live in the cinema and the app has allowed the huge increase by automating the process.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/web/swedish-app-massively-expands-audio-described-cinema, April 21, 2015
USA: Student Inventors Tackle Elder Mobility Hurdles
When Nicholas Steigmann and Maiya Jensen heard about the 2015 Stanford Longevity Design Challenge on mobility, they welcomed the opportunity to create a human-centered design project. One of their advisers encouraged them to reach out to the people they were designing for: older adults. For their efforts, Steigmann and Jensen, juniors at The California College of the Arts in San Francisco, won the top prize at the recent global competition for designing products and services to improve the lives of older adults.
From http://www.nextavenue.org/article/2015-04/student-inventors-tackle-elder-mobility-hurdles, April 21, 2015
Singapore Ranked Best at Using ICT for Economic, Social Impact
Singapore is the best at using ICT to improve its economic competitiveness and social well-being, according to a new study by the World Economic Forum. The study ranks countries against the Networked Readiness Index, based on the regulatory and business environment; the availability of infrastructure and skills; affordability of ICT; individual, business and government usage; and economic and social impacts of ICT.
From http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/6448-singapore-ranked-best-at-using-ict-for-economic-social-impact, April 21, 2015
Digital Access Enhances Life for the Disabled
Jane Snowdon is chief innovation officer in IBM's U.S. federal government division. Noticeable strides have been made since President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law 25 years ago. That was clear as his daughter, Dorothy Bush Koch, spoke on his behalf in March at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) 2015 Leadership Awards Gala to commemorate the law's 25th anniversary.
From http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/it/blog/2015/04/16/digital-access-enhances-life-for-disabled/25871879/, April 21, 2015
All Hands, No Keyboard: New Technology Can Track Detailed Hand Motion
Researchers at Microsoft have developed a system that can track – in real time – all the sophisticated and nuanced hand motions that people make in their everyday lives. The Handpose system could eventually be used by everyone from law enforcement officials directing robots into dangerous situations to office workers who want to sort through e-mail or read documents with a few flips of the wrist instead of taps on a keyboard.
From http://blogs.microsoft.com/next/2015/04/17/all-hands-no-keyboard-new-technology-can-track-detailed-hand-motion/, April 18, 2015
Netflix Begins Audio Description for Visually Impaired
At Netflix, we work hard to continually improve the experience for our members when viewing movies and shows on our service, including providing accessibility across devices. Now we’re expanding our accessibility options by adding audio description on select titles, beginning today with our new critically acclaimed series, Marvel’s Daredevil. Audio description is a narration track that describes what is happening on-screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes. Customers can choose audio narration just like choosing the soundtrack in a different language.
From http://blog.netflix.com/2015/04/netflix-begins-audio-description-for.html?spref&m=1, April 16, 2015
Assistive Technology Helps Students with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties Succeed
A student with cerebral palsy operates a computer using his cheek, while another with writing problems uses a digital keyboard with the main keys highlighted so predictive text can do the rest, and a vision-impaired student uses the "speak the screen" feature on her mobile device to listen to what is on the screen.
From http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/assistive-technology-helping-students-with-disabilities-and-learning-difficulties-succeed-20150412-1mf6l3.html, April 16, 2015
USA: Task Force Unveils Plan to Overhaul Special Education
A statewide task force unveiled Friday a 222-page plan to dramatically improve education for students with disabilities, described as the crucial next step in education reform in California. While the report, titled “One System: Reforming Education to Serve All Students,” calls for the “seamless integration” of special education services into schools, Vicki Barber, co-executive director of the task force, made it clear in a February presentation that special education services and protections would not be diminished and that separate schools for students with relatively rare disabilities, such as blindness, would continue.
From http://edsource.org/2015/task-force-unveils-plan-to-overhaul-special-education/76026, April 16, 2015
Comparison of Browsers on HTML5 Video Accessibility: 2015 Update
This is an update to my earlier Comparison of Browsers on HTML5 Video Accessibility, published two years ago. To test browsers, I used the Native HTML5 Media Player test that ships with Able Player. This test page includes an HTML5 <video> element with two <source> elements to ensure cross-browser support, one targeting an MP4 video file and the other targeting a WebM video file. It also includes four kinds of <track> elements: captions, subtitles, descriptions, and chapters.
From http://terrillthompson.com/blog/635, April 16, 2015