India: Top Technology Institute in Country Opens Center to Develop Devices for People with Mobility Disabilities
A center for students to develop devices for people with mobility disabilities was inaugurated at Indian Institutes of Technology Madras (IIT-M) on Monday. The TTK Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT-M’s department of mechanical engineering will be funded by the TTK Group whose chairman T T Jagannathan is a former student of the institution.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/01/21/iit-m-opens-center-to-develop-devices-for-people-with-mobility-disabilities/, January 23, 2015
Google Adds Screen Reader Support to Docs, Sheets and Slides Apps
Google's Docs, Sheets and Slides apps aren't easy to use on a phone's small screen at all, but this set of updates could make things just a bit more convenient for both iOS and Android users. Documents now come with real-time spell check, spreadsheets are now able to hide rows and columns, and presentations can lump similar shapes together. Even better, they all now work with Android TalkBack and iOS VoiceOver -- screen readers that will make the apps friendlier to the visually impaired -- though those who only need just a bit of help reading on a small screen can use the magnification tool instead.
From http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/22/google-docs-sheets-slides-talkback-voiceover/, January 22, 2015
Stevie Wonder Speaks at CES About Need for Accessible Technology
Musician Stevie Wonder spoke here at CES about the need to make technology more accessible to people with disabilities. "We want to see a time where the issue of technology being accessible to people with disabilities is not an issue that we have to discuss... but it's just a natural, given fact" that everyone has equal access to technology, Wonder said at a panel event Tuesday (Jan. 6).
From http://www.livescience.com/49352-stevie-wonder-ces-technology-disabilities.html, January 22, 2015
Why Your Next Fitness Tracker Will Be Smarter
Fitness trackers that only count steps are so last year. The newest fitness trackers are going beyond just a simple accelerometer to carry a host of new sensors, from devices that measure the electrical properties of your skin to optical sensors that can measure your heartbeat. Most of the new devices still don't go beyond providing raw data for users to interpret, and are still far from making health predictions and prescriptions, said Dan Ledger, who researches wearables and health technologies at Endeavour Partners, a digital technology consulting company in Massachusetts.
From http://www.livescience.com/49524-health-trackers-use-more-sensors.html, January 22, 2015
Microsoft Office Online Gets New Accessibility Enhancements
WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative - Accessible Rich Internet Applications), a web accessibility standard Microsoft helped create, allows for Office Online to be used in conjunction with a screen reader. Today, and Microsoft has rolled out several new accessibility improvements to give blind and poor-vision users a better Office Online experience. Office Online has added new improvements and features to help the blind and poor-vision users make their way around the application. With Narrator (Windows Key + Enter) enabled, formatting information will be read aloud when you use arrow keys to move around documents. Narrator can announce formatting and location information about headings, tables, graphs, and more.
From http://www.winbeta.org/news/microsoft-office-online-gets-new-accessibility-enhancements, January 22, 2015
W3C Launches Web of Things Initiative
W3C announced today a new Web of Things initiative to develop Web standards for enabling open markets of applications and services based upon connected sensors and actuators (the Internet of Things) and the Web of data. Open standards will be essential to realizing the huge potential. We invite you to join the new Web of Things Interest Group and drive work on use cases, requirements, and best practices. The aim is to build a shared vision and identify specific opportunities for standardization.
From http://www.w3.org/blog/news/archives/4324, January 21, 2015
CES 2015: Wearables, Drones and Smart Devices Prove IoT is Here to Stay
CES 2015 might not have showcased the innovation in technology seen in previous years, but it did reinforce the importance of the Internet of Things (IoT), and the products and services that it will enable in the years ahead. For instance, one of the tech industry's major players, mobile chip maker Qualcomm, dedicated most of its press conference to the development of IoT in the coming year, hinting that its growth is an important factor as the company moves forward.
From http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/feature/2390292/ces-2015-wearables-drones-and-smart-devices-prove-the-iot-is-here-to-stay, January 19, 2015
Freedom Scientific Releases a 90-day License of JAWS® for Windows
Freedom Scientific today announced the release of a 90-day license of JAWS® for Windows Professional, the worlds most popular Windows screen reader. The 90-day license represents a great opportunity for companies who wish to test the accessibility of their Web pages or their applications under development. Agencies can use the 90-day license to test at job sites and start new employees on JAWS immediately. For end users, this provides an option to spread the purchase of a full JAWS license over an extended time period.
From http://visuallyimpairedpeople.org/content/freedom-scientific-releases-90-day-license-jaws%C2%AE-windows, January 19, 2015
'Be My Eyes' iPhone App Lets You Help the Blind Using Video Chat
There's a new iPhone app from the Danish team known for Thermodo that lets sighted folks help the blind on the rare occasions they need it. Called Be My Eyes, the non-profit, crowd-sourced app (on iOS only for now) pairs sighted with blind users using video chat. The concept is pretty simple: when a blind person needs help to, say, glean the expiration date on a carton of milk or cross a street, they simply tap their screen to find the first available sighted helper. Once a helper accepts the request, the blind person points his rear camera at the problem and can get assistance by video chat.
From http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/16/be-my-eyes-iphone-app-help-the-blind/#continued, January 19, 2015
How Next-Gen Computing Changes the Way We Live and Work
Despite tremendous advances in cognitive computing capabilities, organizations have only begun to scratch the surface of potential for this innovative technology. From improving customer engagement to enhancing research capabilities that identify new, life-saving medical treatments, the potential value of cognitive-based solutions is boundless.
From http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/thoughtleadership/cognitivefuture/, January 19, 2015