USA: FCC Partners to Address Accessible Communications
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) signed an interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which would allow them to “partner on research into the use of modern IP technology to improve and make more accessible phone service to Americans who are deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing.” Research conducted under the MOU will focus on the effectiveness of current and potential uses of IP technology, with the intention of helping guide future activities of the FCC Interstate Telecommunications Relay Services Program, a service which enables people with hearing or speech disabilities to place phone calls.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.gatech.edu/content/newsroom/fcc-partners-address-accessible-communications#!, January 06, 2014
Eye Control for Gaming is About to Get Real
You've blasted asteroids with your eyes, but are you ready to shoot virtual bad guys just by looking at them? That's the promise of a new game controller in development from SteelSeries, powered by Tobii's eye-tracking technology. Tobii has been slowly upgrading and improving its eye-tracking technology for years, first creating a laptop with eye control, then showing what was possible with an arcade version of Eye Asteroids. Developers have been able to unlock the possibilities of eye control with the company's Rex peripheral, and now the tech will finally be going commercial with the coming SteelSeries product.
From http://mashable.com/2014/01/02/tobii-eye-controller-gaming/#!, January 06, 2014
USA: Feds Report Boost in Disability Hiring
The number of federal workers with disabilities is on the rise, with a new report finding that such employment has reached its highest level in more than three decades. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management said in a report released Thursday that the nation’s largest employer added 16,653 new employees with disabilities during the 2012 fiscal year, bringing the total to nearly 220,000.
From http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/12/20/feds-boost-disability-hiring/18985/, January 06, 2014
USA: NPR Receiver Gets Closed-Captioned Radio Emergency Alerts for the Hearing Impaired
I'll be the first to admit that I had a little trouble wrapping my brain around this one, but I think I've got it now. Sure the appeal of closed-captioned radio for the hearing impaired is clear, but what wasn't immediately apparent was why, precisely, one would want a standalone box for such information if you could potentially get it just as easily through, say, the station's website. This first iteration (which is very much still in the proof-of-concept phase) is intended for emergency relief organizations like FEMA and NPR and its partners are currently testing it out in the Gulf states. The box uses a tablet as a display, getting emergency information through the radio spectrum, so you can use it when the power is out and your WiFi isn't working -- assuming you've still got juice in your tablet, which powers the box.
From http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/06/npr/, January 06, 2014
Windows Store Now Lets You Find Accessible Apps
Microsoft's 8.1 update to its Windows operating system adds a valuable search feature. App publishers can now tag their wares with accessibility features, and consumers can search for them by feature. This leaves the real impact up to app developers, since accessibility features aren't required, but it opens up a way to communicate that other app stores don't really have -- another step forward in creating a stronger market for accessibility.
From http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/set-preferences-windows-store, January 06, 2014
UN Secretary-General Appoints Former VP of Ecuador as Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Lenín Voltaire Moreno Garces of Ecuador as his Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility. In his new post, Mr. Moreno will help promote the rights of people with disabilities, who number more than one billion, and also advocate on behalf of accessibility for all people.
From http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46789#, January 02, 2014
India: Organizations Want Disability Bill Tabled in Parliament Soon
Different organizations working for welfare and rights of people with disabilities in the state have alleged apathy on the part of Union government towards their plight. Under the aegis of UP Viklang Manch, the organisations stress tabling of Rights to People With Disability Bill in Parliament in its next session in February. To garner support for their cause, the forum will meet leaders of different political parties, including Arvind Kejriwal, the newly appointed chief minister of Delhi.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/12/31/organizations-want-disability-bill-tabled-in-parliament-soon/, January 02, 2014
Bahrain Launches Braille Signboards
Minister of Education Dr. Majid bin Ali Al-Nuaimi has directed the launching of safe pathways for students with vision disabilities in schools. Safe walkways will be included as essential elements of the school ergonomics to assist students reaching to various facilities in their schools easily. This came as the Minister launched the project of Braille-inscribed guidance signboards for the welfare of students with vision disabilities at West Riffa Secondary School for Girls.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/12/23/bahrain-launches-braille-signboards/, January 02, 2014
India: Low-cost Assistive Technology Boon for Persons with Disabilities
The low-cost assistive technology is very helpful for designing devices needed for persons with disabilities, Prof. Therese Willkomm has observed.
Participating in a workshop on Assistive Technologies held at the BVRIT in Narsapur on Sunday, Dr. Therese Willkomm, Director of the New Hempshire State Assistive Technology program of the Institute of Disability at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), said that materials like tommy tape, double-sided velcro tape and plastic foam sheets would be used in preparing the low-cost assistive technology devices.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/12/23/low-cost-assistive-technology-a-boon-for-persons-with-disabilities/, January 02, 2014
WordPress Accessibility Resources
WordPress is the foundation for many websites. Roughly 40% of the top 10,000 sites in the world use it, including ecommerce sites, blogs, major online publications, and web applications. Whether you’re looking to take advantage of the sophistication and ease of WordPress as a content publishing system or use it as the basis for your large ecommerce network, it’s to your advantage to know how you can work with accessibility in WordPress.
From http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/61516-WordPress-Accessibility-Resources, January 02, 2014