Sachin Dev Pavithran Elected Chair of the U.S. Access Board
The U.S. Access Board unanimously elected Sachin Dev Pavithran as its new Chair on March 11. Pavithran of Logan, Utah is Program Director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University's Center for Persons with Disabilities. He was named to the Access Board by President Barack Obama in 2012.
From http://www.access-board.gov/news/1724-sachin-dev-pavithran-elected-chair-of-the-access-board, March 12, 2015
Google: IoT Can Help Persons with Disabilities
It was the last panel session of the Mobile World Congress, and the topic was business models for "connected" consumer packaging in the world of the Internet of Things. The moderator threw the floor open for questions, and one woman in the audience asks how this explosion of connected products could help people with disabilities?
From http://www.informationweek.com/mobile/mobile-devices/google-iot-can-help-the-disabled/a/d-id/1319404, March 11, 2015
Philippines: Persons with Disabilities Rights in Post-2015 UN Agenda Backed by NCDA
The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) says it fully supports the international call to firmly include the human rights of persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda. This comes after a team of United Nations (UN) experts last month appealed to UN negotiators and member states to ensure that no one gets left behind in defining the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "The inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a very good strategy to ensure that everybody benefits from development work as a fundamental right,” the NCDA told VERA Files.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/03/11/persons-with-disabilities-rights-in-post-2015-un-agenda-backed/, March 11, 2015
USA: MIT Researchers Build Finger-Mounted Reading Device for the Blind
Researchers at the MIT Media Laboratory have built a prototype of a finger-mounted device with a built-in camera that converts written text into audio for visually impaired users. The device provides feedback — either tactile or audible — that guides the user’s finger along a line of text, and the system generates the corresponding audio in real time.
From http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/finger-mounted-reading-device-blind-0310#.VQBitLb9Mmc.twitter, March 11, 2015
How Apps are Changing the Face of Accessibility
Tap to Talk is a free alternative that is available for iOS, Android, Windows 8, Nook, and more. Other options are Touch Voice (Android and iOS, $19.99), iCommunicate for iPad ($49.99), iComm (iPhone, free), and TouchChat HD (iOS, $149.99). Whether it is worth paying so much for Proloquo2Go, compared to lower-cost and even free alternatives, is hotly debated. The app’s developers point to how much less expensive it is when compared to the equivalent devices before Proloquo2Go’s development, as well as the research, technology and ongoing updates that go into the app. Looking at the suitability of each option is advised, and the Special Apps for Special Needs site recommends seeking advice from a Speech and Language Therapist.
From http://www.dailydot.com/technology/accessibility-apps-disability-tools, March 10, 2015
Accessibility, the Journey and the Destination
In this "Simply Accessible" blog post, Derek Featherstone talks about the long journey of creating accessible web content. He discusses how at first, he thought his websites were accessible because they included alt text and correctly labeled forms. But he quickly realized that this was just a first step in creating an accessible website that is also user-friendly.
From http://simplyaccessible.com/article/accessibility-journey-destination/, March 10, 2015
USA: CU-Boulder Appoints Chief Digital Accessibility Officer
The University of Colorado-Boulder is one of the latest organizations to announce its appointment of a chief accessibility officer. CU-Boulder announced in February that Dan Jones will take on the role of Chief Digital Accessibility Officer, heading up the university’s ICT Services and Applications Accessibility Project. In its announcement, the university also listed an update on the progress of this project.
From http://www.colorado.edu/news/features/jones-appointed-chief-digital-accessibility-officer, March 10, 2015
What My Hearing Aid Taught Me About the Future of Wearables
In my current role at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, I’m lucky to be able to study something I care deeply about: technology’s impact on our lives. I’m sure my interest partly arises from how I’ve depended on technology for as long as I can remember. I don’t know with certainty how consumer wearables will develop, but what I do know is how much hearing aids have changed over the last 30 years. And I have some insight into what sensory-enhancing wearables—like hearing aids, and unlike data-recording wearables like pedometers—could someday become. Over the next few years, I expect that we will see four trends, rich in both opportunity and peril, shape the evolution of these wearables from toys into tools.
From http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/02/what-my-hearing-aid-taught-me-about-the-future-of-wearables/385145/, March 10, 2015
Digital Inclusion: The Benefits of Better Web Accessibility
In an era when the web is becoming ubiquitous, the implications of being on the wrong side of the digital divide seem graver than ever. Website accessibility expert Professor Jonathan Hassell’s new book on digital inclusion, launched this month, calls for a shift in the thinking of organizations over what has often been regarded as a somewhat burdensome and thorny issue.
From http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2014/nov/20/companies-benefits-digital-inclusion-accessibility, March 10, 2015
USA: FCC Extends Deadline for Nominations to the Fourth Chairman's Awards for Advancement in Accessibility
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is extending the deadline for the submission of nominations for the Chairman’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman’s AAA) to March 20, 2015. In addition, the Commission is issuing this public notice to encourage parties to submit additional information with their nominations to assist the Commission in its review process. Parties making nominations now have the option of including references to consumer reviews of products and services, and links to videos on a website that demonstrate their innovations. If parties have already submitted a nomination, parties may resubmit their nomination to include this additional information.
From http://www.fcc.gov/document/nomination-chairmans-aaa, March 10, 2015