USA: FDA Approves First Wearable, Motorized Device that Helps People With Disabilities to Walk
Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community. ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk. ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/07/02/fda-approves-first-wearable-motorized-device-that-helps-people-with-disabilities-to-walk/, July 07, 2014
Canada: AMI-Audio Special Focuses on the Accessibility of USA’s Most Famous Monuments
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced that it will air a two-part documentary exploring the accessibility of some of the most recognizable attractions in the capital of the United States. AMI Goes to Washington captures the spirit of America’s capital and takes listeners on a detailed journey through the city as AMI-audio staffers Paul Daniel and Joe Lamanna explore many of D.C.’s iconic monuments and experience first-hand how accessible they are.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/06/26/ami-audio-special-focuses-on-the-accessibility-of-some-of-the-usas-most-famous-monuments/, July 04, 2014
India: People with Vision Disabilities Get New Braille library
Marathi litterateur Kavita Mahajan inaugurated the library for people with vision disabilities in the city on Friday on the occasion of the birth anniversary Helen Keller. Also present on the occasion were Balasaheb Joshi, former district governor of Rotary Club, Ramesh Meher, president of Rotary Nashik (West) and Megha Pawaskar, a senior member of the National Association of the Blind (NAB).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/06/30/people-with-vision-disabilities-get-a-new-braille-library/, July 03, 2014
U.S. Education Department Issues New Special Ed Rules
The Education Department announced Tuesday that it will begin to look at graduation rates, test scores and other measures of academic performance to help determine if states are meeting the needs of students with disabilities. The department called the change a “major shift” in the way it assesses special education programs, since such benchmarks weren’t stringently applied to special education students previously. An estimated 6.5 million children and youth have such disabilities, the department said, and have lower graduation rates overall and don’t do as well on average in reading and math as their peers.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/06/24/us-education-dept-issues-new-special-ed-rules/, July 03, 2014
Australia Signs Treaty to Increase Print Access for Blind and Vision Impaired
On 23 June 2014, the Australian Government signed the ‘Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled’. Last year, 51 countries signed the treaty (link is external), which will give blind and vision impaired people greater access to works in accessible formats like braille and audio. Currently, due to copyright restrictions, only between 1 and 7 percent of the world’s published books are made available in these formats.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/policy-legislation/australia-signs-treaty-to-increase-print-access-for-blind-and-vision-impaired, July 02, 2014
USA: FCC to Promote Social Media Accessibility
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to facilitate an industry discussion on making social media tools and content accessible to people with disabilities. The event, Accessibility & Innovation (A&I) Initiative, on July 17 will seek to heighten awareness among technology developers and media producers so that they are inspired to increase the level of social media accessibility.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/online-media/fcc-to-promote-social-media-accessibility, July 02, 2014
USA: FCC Proposes Steps to Improve Emergency Alert System
The FCC has proposed taking several steps to improve Emergency Alert System warnings including, among other things, requiring broadcasters and cable operators to meet minimum standards of EAS alert accessibility to the disabled, taking a page from closed-captioning requirements. It also signaled another EAS test is coming up soon.
From http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/alert-fcc-tweaks-eas/132113, July 02, 2014
USA: FCC Moves to Caption the Web
The Federal Communications Commission is taking another step to make the Internet more accessible, voting next month on rules for closed captioning online video clips. The vote, planned for the FCC’s July meeting, is the result of a years-long push — and Chairman Tom Wheeler's personal interest — to increase accessibility online.
From http://thehill.com/policy/technology/210881-fcc-moves-to-caption-the-web, July 02, 2014
Accessibility of Online Services Grows: UN
The accessibility of online services around the world has dramatically increased in the last two years, according to United Nations (UN). In its 2014 e-Government Survey (link is external), the UN stated that in the two years since its 2012 survey the percentage of government websites with information for “disadvantaged and vulnerable groups”, including people with disabilities, had grown from 28 percent to 64 percent.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/online-media/accessibility-of-online-services-grows-un, July 01, 2014
Interview: Challenges of Captioning and Copyrights
Media Access Australia spoke to Blake E. Reid, Assistant Clinical Professor at Colorado Law, following his chairing of a session at the 2014 M-Enabling Summit on copyright and third party captioning. The session at M-Enabling (link is external) covered issues such as the proliferation of inaccessible video content, the need for third party captioning, and the dangers of captioning infringing on the copyrights of audio-visual content owners.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/television/challenges-of-captioning-and-copyrights, July 01, 2014