Researchers Develop Magnifying Smartphone Screen App for People with Vision Disabilities
Researchers from the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School have developed a smartphone application that projects a magnified smartphone screen to Google Glass, which users can navigate using head movements to view a corresponding portion of the magnified screen. They have shown that the technology can potentially benefit users with vision disabilities, many of whom find the smartphone’s built-in zoom feature to be difficult to use due to the loss of context. Their results are published online in the journal IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/23/researchers-develop-magnifying-smartphone-screen-app-for-people-with-vision-disabilities/, April 25, 2016
New Zealand: Sign Language Projects Receive $1 Million
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today congratulated 24 successful applicants who received just over $1 million worth of grants from the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Fund. Successful projects include the development of a youth mentorship programme, a series of NZSL Immersion Courses in Otago where there is very limited access to NZSL for families with children with disabilities and a national conference for families with deaf children.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/25/sign-language-projects-receive-1m/, April 25, 2016
India: 'Tech Innovations Will Improve Lives of the Visually Impaired'
Android smartphones are smart enough to assist the visually impaired. But, they could be smarter with more innovations," said Kiran Kaja, who himself is afflicted with visual impairment. Kaja, currently working as an engineer with Google with a specialization in the field of technical assistance for visually impaired, opined that technological advancements such as 'text to speech' and 'speech to text' conversion software and screen readers could be of much help to the visually impaired and will improve the quality of their lives.
From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thiruvananthapuram/Tech-innovations-will-improve-lives-of-the-visually-impaired/articleshow/51887238.cms, April 21, 2016
AT&T: Improving Communications for the Hard of Hearing Through HD Voice
For people with disabilities, it is rare that there is a single solution that meets everyone’s accessibility needs. Different circumstances and environments often require different solutions and this is certainly true for people who are hard of hearing or experiencing hearing loss. Hearing aids have become smaller, more comfortable and more powerful in recent years. They can make it possible to undertake activities that were previously more challenging – but they also have their limitations. The development of Hearing Aid Compatibility technologies that improve the ability of hearing aids to amplify mobile devices has greatly enhanced the experience for people with hearing loss, but it isn’t always the best solution for everyone.
From http://www.4-traders.com/AT-T-INC-14324/news/AT-T-Improving-Communications-for-the-Hard-of-Hearing-Through-HD-Voice-22193008/, April 21, 2016
ICTs Can Help Fast-Track Realization of SDGs, Says Global Tech Firm
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a powerful tool to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new report by technology firm, Ericsson indicates. The Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility 2015 report notes that ICT is a critical tool toward the realization of all 17 SDGs because ICT is a cross-cutting enabler of development.
From http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2016-04-18/199038/, April 18, 2016
Microsoft Taps Into Big Data to Improve Government Efficiency Worldwide
Governments across the globe are tapping into big data to transform their everyday operations. They’re using predictive analytics to dramatically improve the quality of their decisions. And they’re collecting and analyzing large volumes of information to enhance both their efficiency and their service to citizens. Indeed, big data is transforming the public sector in powerful, new ways, making government far more efficient and responsive than was possible in the past. And as governments embrace big data, Microsoft SQL Server 2016 represents a large leap forward—helping them transform complex information into actionable insights.
From http://enterprise.microsoft.com/en-us/industries/government/microsoft-taps-into-big-data-to-improve-government-efficiency-worldwide/, April 18, 2016
What is a Smart Sustainable City?
People move to urban areas in the hope of finding a better job and enjoying a higher standard of living. However, the increasing number of people migrating to cities creates congestion, puts pressure on limited resources (for example, energy and water), and escalates the demand for services such as sanitation, health care and education. The concept of the smart city emerged more than a decade ago, and a number of cities in the world have jumped on the smart city bandwagon, labelling themselves “smart” in some way or another. But rapid urbanization and the obvious need to develop a sustainable model to support anticipated population growth in cities led the ITU to coin the term “smart sustainable cities” to highlight concerns about resources, and to incorporate characteristics of both eco-cities and smart cities.
From https://itunews.itu.int/en/5215-What-is-a-smart-sustainable-city.note.aspx, April 18, 2016
Australia: Consumer Information Critical to Assistive Technology Take Up
Improving the quality of information and ready supply of assistive technologies (AT) in Australia is critical to realizing the potential of AT in the lives of older people and people with disability, says Dr Natasha Layton, an occupational therapist and board member of the Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association. Speaking to Community Care Review ahead of her presentation to the ATSA Independent Living Expo in Melbourne next month, Dr Layton said Australia currently imported only a proportion of AT devices available on the international market, and even fewer were available through state equipment funding schemes.
From http://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/2016/04/13/consumer-information-critical-assistive-technology-take-expert/, April 18, 2016
What Twitter's New Accessibility Feature Could Mean for People Living With Sight Loss
There are currently around 38million active social media accounts in the UK; that's around one account for every two people living here. This number rockets to two billion on a global scale. And while there's no hard stats, I'd bet that a decent percentage of these users are blind or partially sighted - there's two million people in the UK alone living with sight loss, after all. So I was pleased with last week's news that Twitter is set to introduce a new accessibility feature to the platform, to enable blind and partially sighted people to digest images more easily.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/terry-hawkins/twitters-new-accessibility-feature_b_9625974.html, April 18, 2016
Google Releases New Tool to Scan Android Apps for Accessibility Issues
For anyone designing Android apps, Google just released a tool that will help make your apps more accessible for all users. The company's new Accessibility Scanner looks at any Android app and will call out aspects of it that could be improved, particularly for differently abled users. The app will even suggest ways you can alter things for the better. It seems pretty simple to use: just download the Accessibility Scanner to your mobile app, go to Settings and Accessibility, and turn on the Accessibility Scanner tool.
From http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/03/google-releases-new-tool-to-scan-android-apps-for-accessibility-issues/, April 15, 2016