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Canada: AMI-télé, Television That Includes Everyone, Goes on Air
AMI-télé, the world's first French-language network to present its entire schedule with open described video, goes on air today. "It is a big day for the blind or partially sighted, a defining moment in the journey towards media accessibility for all of those who cannot enjoy television in its traditional format," says David Errington, President of Accessible Media Inc.
From http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1464257/ami-tele-television-that-includes-everyone-goes-on-air-today, December 18, 2014

Transforming Your Skin Into A Touchscreen
The booming wearables industry strives to keep users connected while exercising, working, and even eating. One new company wants to pack a number of features into a small, screen-free band that will keep wearers online anywhere — even in the tub. Less than a year old, French start-up Cicret is hoping streamline such functions as phone calls, browsing, and watching videos into a single wristband. As Cicret co-founder Guillaume Pommier told MailOnline, the minimal wearable is a “revolutionary device which could completely change how we access information.”
From http://www.psfk.com/2014/12/transforming-your-skin-into-a-touchscreen.html, December 18, 2014

UK: Alliance Formed to Improve Access to Digital Services
The UK government has announced that a new alliance has been created to form solutions for issues that people with disabilities and older people face in accessing digital services such as those used in online banking, on public transport and digital TV. The Digital Accessibility Alliance will bring together government departments, regulators, local government, business and the not for profit sector to: encourage compliance with relevant eInclusion legislation such as the Equality Act 2010; promote universal access for citizens to digital services, particularly for older people and those with disabilities; and generate and promote good practice. The Alliance will be headed up by Kevin Carey, Chair of the RNIB, and met for the first time last week to agree their priorities.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/12/18/alliance-formed-to-improve-access-to-digital-services/, December 18, 2014

Visually Impaired South Korean Students Receive 3D Printed Touchable Yearbook by 3D TEK
Not only does the Touchable Yearbook provide visually impaired students with yearbooks, but it also gives them an introduction to the true innovations of 3D printing and how it can benefit them point blank — not to mention many others in the world who have other special needs. It’s a reward in more ways than one as exposure to the technology of 3D printing is invaluable in terms of encouraging and opening kids up to the wonders of STEM (science, technology, education, manufacturing) education, where 3D printing is beginning to play a substantial role.
From http://3dprint.com/31162/3d-print-touchable-yearbook/, December 17, 2014

Skype's Newest App Will Translate Your Speech in Real Time
Microsoft’s Skype software will start translating voice calls between people today. As part of a preview program, Skype Translator makes it possible for English and Spanish speakers to communicate in their native language, without having to learn a new one. It sounds like magic , but it’s the result of years of work from Microsoft’s research team and Skype to provide an early working copy of software that could help change the way the world communicates in the future.
From http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/15/7393665/skype-translator-features, December 17, 2014

USA: Disability Champion Senator Harkin Leaving Congress
After 40 years on Capitol Hill, a U.S. senator who shaped the Americans with Disabilities Act is leaving his post. Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is retiring at the conclusion of the year, after choosing not to seek re-election. The departure will leave disability advocates without their strongest ally in Congress.
From http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2014/12/16/disability-champion-leaving/19924/, December 17, 2014

USA: Books, Blindness and Barriers to Content
For the nearly 8 million people in the US with some degree of vision impairment, the advent of ebooks and e-readers has been both a blessing and a burden. A blessing, because a digital library—everything from academic textbooks, to venerated classics, to romance novels—is never further away than your fingertips. A burden, because the explosion of ebooks has served as a reminder of how inaccessible technology really can be.
From http://www.wired.com/2014/12/e-books-for-the-blind-should-be-legal/, December 16, 2014

Koala Mobile: Designing a Mobile Interface for Older People
Most phones currently on the market have a touch screen. The touch-based interface can be confusing for many people. The only possible way how to interact with the phone is to use virtual on-screen buttons and gestures on the display. These interfaces are mostly not optimized for people with vision or fine motor skills problems.
From https://medium.com/@tomasslavicek/designing-a-mobile-interface-for-older-people-1c9b70fd645c, December 16, 2014

G3ict Joins IDPP Partnership Network
The IDPP welcomes the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) and the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) as its two newest outreach partners and the newest members of the IDPP partnership network across the ASEAN region and around the world. Both join the IDPP's unparalleled network of 19 renowned universities and two prominent outreach partners Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD) and International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI).
From http://aseanidpp.org/seameo-joins-partnership-network, December 16, 2014

USA: Robots to Assist Persons with Disabilities
New research in robotics might help with stroke rehabilitation, guide wheelchairs, and assist children with Autism. Projects investigating co-robotics are the focus of new funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/12/15/robots-to-assist-persons-with-disabilities/, December 15, 2014

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