USA: Building a Better Smartphone for Blind Users
Smartphones have become incredibly powerful tools for blind people. A phone’s camera can identify money and read text, and GPS navigation tells blind users where they are and what’s nearby. Most mobile accessibility tools can be found through a handful of useful apps on standard smartphones, but there’s a team of developers in Israel working on a new Android phone called Ray. It's a standard Android phone with an interface designed for blind users, that debuts at the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) this week.
From http://www.marketplace.org/topics/tech/consumer-electronics-show/building-better-smartphone-blind-users, January 10, 2013
Singapore: Poor Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Deters Tourists
Accessible travel is no longer regarded as a small market. It is growing in importance but many cities and countries still lack the infrastructure and facilities to cater to this market. The first South-East Asian Conference on Accessible Travel (Seacat 2012) was held in Kuala Lumpur last weekend. More than 200 participants from various countries such as China, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Taiwan, Nepal, South Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, attended the conference.
From http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2012/12/3/lifefocus/12384749&sec=lifefocus, January 08, 2013
USA: America has Plenty of Wireless Spectrum — We Need Newer Ways of Allocation
Last month the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to approve an important proposal to begin building the nation’s spectrum superhighways. The conventional wisdom is that we have a radio spectrum shortage. That’s not the case, according to President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. What we need is a much more efficient way to allocate what we have, and that includes a plan for shared use.
From http://gigaom.com/2013/01/05/america-has-plenty-of-wireless-spectrum-we-just-need-a-new-way-to-allocate-it/, January 08, 2013
CIP Information Day Workshop on Health, Ageing Well and Inclusion
On 15 January 2013 the European Commission will hold an information day on Call 7 of the Competitiveness & Innovation Programme ICT Policy Support Programme (CIP ICT PSP). The morning session will provide participants with important information on the funding instruments as well as Themes 1, 3 and 4. To ensure that participants interested in ICT for Health, Ageing Well and Inclusion make the most of their time in Brussels, we are organizing an information and networking workshop dedicated to Objectives 3.1 – 3.3 of the CIP ICT PSP on the afternoon of January 15.
From http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/cip-information-day-specific-workshop-health-ageing-well-and-inclusion-objectives-31-33, January 08, 2013
Oman’s Telecom Sector to be Accessible for Persons with Disabilities
The Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) has developed a set of guidelines stating the services required to be provided by telecom service providers to minimize access barriers for persons with disabilities. As per the new guidelines, telecom operators are expected to provide services like access to an emergency directory through call centre or SMS; a directory in Braille or an electronic version of it for people with vision disabilities, special packages and tariff schemes for those with disabilities, and billing services in Braille or a suitable electronic format, besides others. According to TRA officials, the provisions of the guidelines have been designed to be practical and achievable without placing undue financial burden on service providers.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/01/08/omans-telecom-sector-to-be-accessible-for-persons-with-disabilities/, January 08, 2013
Accessibile Cinema Proves a Hit in Australia
More Australians with disabilities will soon be able to enjoy the Boxing Day tradition of going to the movies. The Federal Government says new technology to aid cinema-goers who are deaf and blind is proving successful. Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Senator Jan McLucas, says 146 special movie screens have come online under the Government’s joint initiative with the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group. Senator McLucas says there will be more than 240 across the country by the end of 2014.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/01/02/accessible-cinema-proves-a-hit-in-australiaith-disabilities-proves-a-hit-in-australia/, January 07, 2013
Singapore: New Smartphone App for People with Vision Disabilities
A team of Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturers and students have designed a mobile application for people who are blind or low vision to help them navigate their way to their destination. The app, called the Travel Assistant for the Visually Impaired, or TAVI is thought to be the first of its kind in mapping specific locations into an app. TAVI was created early last year, by lecturers and students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm and Technology. There are other apps in the market that use GPS technology to help people with vision disabilities get around, but these have some limitations.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/01/07/new-smartphone-navigation-app-for-people-with-vision-disabilities/, January 07, 2013
USA: Legislation Promotes Mobile Health Technologies
Representative Michael Honda (D-CA) introduced the Health Care Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act of 2012 [H.R. 6626]. The bill focuses on promoting the adoption of mobile health (mHealth) technologies. Representative Honda noted that there is a “lack of an established marketplace for new technologies and a lack of trained workers to handle the implementation and use of these technologies.” To support further development of such technologies, the bill requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish an Office of Wireless Health Technology.
From http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr6626, January 07, 2013
USA: Creation of the FCC Technology Transitions Policy Task Force
Julius Genachowski, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman, announced the creation of the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force that will work to answer the following policy question: “In a broadband world, how can we best ensure that our nation’s communications policies continue to drive a virtuous cycle of innovation and investment, promote competition, and protect consumers?” Areas that the Task Force will focus on include: IP interconnection, 21st century communications networks, business broadband competition, and voice services. The goal of the recommendations to be made in each of these areas is “to modernize the Commission’s policies in a process that encourages the technological transition, empowers and protects consumers, promotes competition, and ensures network resiliency and reliability.” The Task Force will be led by Sean Lev, the Commission’s General Counsel, who will function as the Interim Director, and Rebekah Goodheart, Associate Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, who will serve as the Deputy Director.
From http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-317837A1.pdf, January 07, 2013
Electrical Stimulation Components are Unlocking Future of Hearing
Cochlear implant systems convert everyday sounds into coded electrical pulses. These electrical pulses stimulate the auditory nerve, and the brain interprets the pulses as sound.
From http://ow.ly/gwrBX, January 04, 2013