India: Design School Alumnus Innovates Car for Drivers with Vision Disabilities
NID-Gandhinagar alumnus Mikhil Sonavaria has innovated a car that will help people with vision disabilities take the wheel. Called Aloka, Sonavaria’s is a semi-autonomous vehicle that gives such drivers the opportunity to become independent again. The driver is likened to a navigator, he or she knows the final destination and can decide the route while the vehicle works like a pilot and takes the rider to the destination safely. The exterior of the vehicle consists of two major components: a pod and a frame. The driver sits inside the pod and the frame suspends the pod. The suspended pod pendulates, giving the driver a physical feedback by exaggerating the motion. The car’s interior has a jog dial instead of a steering wheel.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/08/20/nidian-designs-car-for-drivers-with-vision-disabilities/, August 25, 2015
USA: Researchers Create Online Tool to Serve Library Users with Autism
Florida State University professors are making it easier for people with autism to use the library through an online course designed to teach librarians the challenges individuals with the disorder are facing. Nancy Everhart, professor at the School of Information, and College of Communication and Information Associate Dean of Research Juliann Woods have partnered to make library patrons with autism more successful in the library setting through Project PALS. Autism is the fastest growing disability in the United States, according to Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/08/24/researchers-create-online-tool-to-serve-library-users-with-autism/, August 25, 2015
India: Smart Cane Obstacle Detection System for Blind People
In 2005, Rohan Paul was at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi (IIT-Delhi) as an undergraduate. As part of a course intended to design solutions for real-life challenges, he visited the National Association for the Blind in Delhi. We heard stories of how people with blindness get hurt when out walking—abruptly hitting open windows, tree branches, or vehicles. It creates so much fear that they are reluctant to step out without assistance.
From http://www.technologyreview.com/lists/innovators-under-35/2015/inventor/rohan-paul/, August 25, 2015
Blind Turkish Woman Creates App for Blind Users That Leverages Text to Speech Technology
Those homemade audio books later inspired Kayaman to develop a mobile-phone application, Hayal Ortağım (My Dream Partner), to make daily activities easier for the visually impaired. It offers news and editorial columns through text-to-speech technology. Books, courses from the Khan Academy, and chess and guitar lessons are at hand. Location services help users find pharmacies and hospitals, and navigation systems for indoor spaces guide them through shopping centers; airports and subways are to be added soon. Also in the works is a function for restaurants: it will alert staff through a Bluetooth beacon that a blind customer has arrived, and then transcribe the menu for the patron.
From http://www.technologyreview.com/lists/innovators-under-35/2015/humanitarian/duygu-kayaman/, August 21, 2015
Mexico Aims to Improve Telecommunications Access for Persons with Disabilities
Mexico’s Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) has approved a public consultation on the draft “General Guidelines for Accessibility to Telecommunications Services for Users with Disabilities”. The purpose of the guidelines is to ensure the protection of rights of persons with disabilities under the Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Act. The duration of the public consultation will be August 14 to September 25, 2015 (30 working days), introduces a series of obligations for providers of telecommunication services.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/08/19/mexico-aims-to-improve-telecommunications-access-for-persons-with-disabilities/, August 19, 2015
Communications Authority of Kenya to Launch Broadcast Content and Accessibility Guide
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) plans to release a program content code in September to guide broadcasters, KBC reported. CA Director General Francis Wangusi said the new code aims at ensuring that children are protected from inappropriate programming, that broadcasting supports local creative arts, and that there is accurate and balanced reporting.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/08/18/communications-authority-of-kenya-to-launch-broadcast-content-and-accessibility-guide/, August 19, 2015
Smartphones, Apps are Liberating the Blind and Visually Impaired
Ruben Morales, a blind 59-year-old retired engineer who lives in Morgan Hill, has used a specialized screen-reading program for years to write and run spreadsheets on his desktop computer. But just this month, he figuratively cut the cord to his desktop and joined the mobile revolution. Morales was visiting the Veterans Affairs Department's Western Blind Rehabilitation Center in Menlo Park learning how to use an iPhone's features for vision-impaired people.
From http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_28641561/smartphones-apps-are-liberating-blind-and-visually-impaired, August 18, 2015
USA: Special Education Training Efforts to Get Millions
As school gets underway in many parts of the country, federal officials are doling out millions of dollars to help parents and teachers better serve students with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Education said it will grant $14 million to support parent training and information centers in 28 states and two U.S. territories over the next five years.
From http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2015/08/17/special-ed-training-millions/20550/, August 18, 2015
UAE: Dubai 2020: Barrier-free, Inclusive, Disability-Friendly
Dubai is on course to become a barrier-free, inclusive and disability-friendly city by 2020. “We have studied the current status of the city of Dubai and the disability gaps. We have done a lot of comparison on best practices in different countries and are localising the best ones,” said Khaled Al Kamda, Director-General, Community Development Authority (CDA). Giving an example, the official revealed that a task force has been set up under the chairmanship of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), which is working on a plan for accessible transportation, accessible buildings, pathways and everything else in between.
From http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/dubai-2020-barrier-free-inclusive-disability-friendly-2015-08-17-1.600483, August 18, 2015
Internet-Connected Homes Soar to 500m-700m by 2020
The number of Internet-connected homes or smart homes is expected to grow from 100 to 200 million homes today to between 500 to 700 million homes by 2020, according to Gartner. New research by US information technology and advisory firm Gartner cites smart household appliances such as smart stoves, smart lighting and other electronic devices as the primary driver of internet-connected homes.
From http://www.metering.com/internet-connected-homes-soar-to-500m-700m-by-2020/, August 18, 2015