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USA: Device Helps People with Vision Disabilities See Sound
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers have discovered that intrinsic neural connections—called crossmodal mappings—can be used by assistive devices to help people who are blind or have low vision detect their environment without requiring intense concentration or hundreds of hours of training. This new multisensory perspective on such aids (called sensory substitution devices) could make tasks that were previously attention-consuming much easier, allowing nonsighted people to acquire a new sensory functionality similar to vision. The work is described in a paper published in the October 22 issue of the journal Scientific Reports.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/01/04/device-helps-people-with-vision-disabilities-see-sound/, January 04, 2016

Kuwait Marks World Braille Day
Kuwait on Monday will join the world in celebrating the World Braille Day to commemorate Braille system’s role in spreading knowledge among people with vision disabilities. Kuwait has been leading in introducing and distributing Braille system to help people with vision disabilities get easy access to language and literacy and to better integrate into the society. Kuwait has been active in republishing Braille books and for this end it established a special printing house the biggest in the Middle East.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/01/03/kuwait-marks-world-braille-day/, January 04, 2016

China: 3D Printing Comes to Help Children with Disabilities
A British couple now reckons they’ve found a way to revolutionize the industry using 3D printing. CRI’s Fei Fei reports. Andiamo’s co-founder Naveed Parvez introduces their innovation using 3D printing that is a simpler and more comfortable solution to making braces and supports instead of the old plastic molds. The London-based company feels they can fill the gap by making orthotic supports for people with disabilities, especially children.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/31/3d-printing-comes-to-help-children-with-disabilities/, January 04, 2016

G3ict Expresses Heartfelt Condolences on the Demise of AMI Accessibility Officer Robert Pearson's
Our deepest sympathy and condolences to Robert's family, Shannon, Emma and Maxwell and his colleagues at Accessible Media Inc (AMI), Toronto, on behalf of our G3ict colleagues from around the world. Robert will be terribly missed. His dedication to advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities, passion for innovation in accessibility and support for our work were truly exceptional. We are also losing a very dear friend, and a compassionate and dependable companion. As we worked together, Robert always shared how much joy his family life and fatherhood brought to him. There are no words to express our sense of loss. We are confident that his legacy will endure through his family, friends and colleagues, and that Robert's cherished personal and advocacy aspirations will be fulfilled.
From http://www.ami.ca/about/Pages/default.aspx#Message from the President & CEO, December 31, 2015

How the W3C Text Alternative Computation Works
Over the years, there has been a lot of confusion about the W3C Text Alternative Computation and how this works, especially when influenced by the addition of CSS and ARIA attributes. As a bit of forewarning, this article is not primarily meant for general web developers, though having an understanding of these concepts will aid their efforts in building accessible software. Instead, this article is meant to aid browser and assistive technology vendors, as well as those who test and evaluate web technologies for accessibility, in order to identify where the breakdown is between the W3C User Agent Implementation Guide, how browsers implement the naming calculation in the accessibility tree, and how assistive technologies then use this information to convey it to their users.
From http://www.ssbbartgroup.com/blog/how-the-w3c-text-alternative-computation-works/, December 22, 2015

Helpline Launched for People with Vision Disabilities in India
Now people with vision disabilities in India can call a toll free number and get their queries addressed in their local language, thanks to an initiative launched recently. Lov Verma, secretary in the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, formally launched the Eyeway Helpdesk for people who are blind. This is an initiative of Score Foundation with support from the central government, Essel Foundation, Tech Mahindra Foundation and Hans Foundation. Now the visually impaired citizens will be able to call the Eyeway Helpdesk on 1800-300-20469 and get their queries addressed in their local language.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/22/helpline-launched-for-people-with-vision-disabilities-in-india/, December 22, 2015

UGA, Georgia Tech Partner to Create Fully-Accessible Camp for Children with Disabilities
The University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design and Georgia Tech’s College of Architecture have partnered with Extra Special People Inc. to build Camp Hooray, the first-of-its-kind, fully accessible overnight camp for children and young adults with developmental disabilities. Located on a 70-acre parcel of land in Jackson County, the camp will have traditional camp activities including music, sports and games, art, swimming, boating, archery, field days, talent shows and overnight stays-while providing a safe, fun and meaningful experience for campers of all abilities.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/21/uga-georgia-tech-partner-to-create-fully-accessible-camp-for-children-with-disabilities/, December 22, 2015

New Rules Help Ensure Hearing Aids Compatible with Wireless Devices
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has passed new rules that ensure greater access to wireless communications services and handset devices for Americans with hearing disabilities. New rules and proposed rules passed reflect a consensus-driven approach to foster accessibility for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing while promoting innovation and investment by the wireless industry.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/21/new-rules-help-ensure-hearing-aids-compatible-with-wireless-devices/, December 22, 2015

USA: A Smartwatch for the Visually Impaired Developed by University Students
Developed by University of Washington students, Dot translates When a group of students at the University of Washington saw a fellow classmate struggling with big heavy Braille books to study, it sparked an idea that could change the way the visually impaired interact with technology. Similar to other smartwatches on the market, Dot is designed to pair with a Bluetooth-enabled phone. When a text message arrives on the phone, the app translates it to Braille and sends it to Dot, which vibrates. Then the pins rise and fall to relay the characters. Other Dot features include a watch, alarm and notifications. Initial tests show Dot should last about five days between charges.
From http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/smartwatch-visually-impaired-180957581/?no-ist, December 21, 2015

Microsoft: Reaffirming Our Commitment to Accessibility
At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. This mission connects in fundamental ways with how we as a company operate, how we design and develop technology and how we work with others to serve people with disabilities. We are committed to delivering great experiences to people with disabilities, and as President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith noted earlier this month, this will require us to raise our ambition. Today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reaffirmed that accessibility is core to our mission, and outlined three commitments that will guide our progress as a company in an all-company mail.
From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/accessibility/archive/2015/12/16/reaffirming-our-commitment-to-accessibility.aspx, December 17, 2015

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