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USA: Bringing Braille Back with Better Display Technology
Today, blind people fluent in Braille can read computer screens through refreshable mechanical displays that convert the words to raised dots – but only one line at a time. For the sighted, imagine a Kindle that showed just 40 characters per page, says Sile O’Modhrain, an associate professor in the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance and the School of Information, who is blind. Forty characters amounts to about 10 words. Even though fluency in the nearly 200-year-old code is linked with higher employment and academic performance for the visually impaired, fewer blind people are learning and using it. Taking Braille’s place are text-to-speech programs that make it easier and faster to consume electronic information, but at the same time, hold back literacy.
From http://bit.ly/1PoH0Sk, January 12, 2016

The Future of Health Sensing May Get Under Your Skin
What if wearables like Fitbits and the Apple Watch represent the infancy of on-body health sensors, something we'll one day look back on the way we now look at the clunky, boxy mobile phones of the 1980s? A number of researchers are working on ultrathin, flexible sensors that could be applied to the skin like smart tattoos, or even applied to the surface of organs inside the body to continually monitor vital signs or to deliver time-released drugs. A recent in-depth piece in Nature Magazine looked at the promise, and the many challenges of this kind of technology.
From http://mobihealthnews.com/content/future-health-sensing-may-get-under-your-skin, January 12, 2016

UK Government Backs GBP 24 Million IoT Research Hub
Imperial College London is part of the new consortium of nine universities, which has received GBP9.8 million support from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of a UK Government investment in IoT research. An additional GBP 9.7 million comes from partners including businesses, NGOs, and public bodies. With just over £4 million of additional support from the participating institutions, the total investment in the PETRAS IoT Hub comes to GBP 24 million over 3 years.
From http://www.machinetomachinemagazine.com/2016/01/07/uk-gov-backs-24-million-iot-research-hub, January 12, 2016

USA: Chicago Transit Authority Announces Next Step Making Rail System 100% Accessible
As part of Mayor Emanuel’s ongoing commitment to improve accessibility throughout the City of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced on January 7, a new initiative that will establish a blueprint for making the nation’s second largest transit agency 100 percent accessible over the next 20 years. TA President Dorval Carter introduced plans for the creation of the new CTA Strategic Accessibility Program – a first-ever, comprehensive plan that will outline both short-term and long-term initiatives to make the CTA’s rail system fully ADA accessible over the next 20 years and plans to either repair and/or replace existing rail system elevators.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/01/08/chicago-transit-authority-announces-next-step-making-rail-system-100-accessible/, January 11, 2016

Monitoring and Evaluation of Disability-Inclusive Development: Data and Statistics
The lack of data and information on disability and the situation of persons with disabilities at the national level contributes to the invisibility of persons with disabilities in official statistics, presenting an obstacle to achieving development planning and implementation that is inclusive of persons with disabilities. The Washington Group on Disability Statistics, a group which operated under the aegis of the UN Statistical Commission, has developed an internationally comparable set of questions for census and surveys. Data collected with these questions will be useful to assist the monitoring of development goals for persons with disabilities.
From bit.ly/1mK1a22, January 08, 2016

WHO Launches Survey to Identify 50 Most Priority Assistive Products
We need more than a billion assistive products now and 2 billion by 2050. However, today only 1 in 10 persons in need has access to assistive products (AP). To change this scenario, based on the success and learning of Essential Medicines List (EML), WHO is developing a WHO Priority Assistive Products List (APL) to assist Member States to plan policies and programs related to the provision of AP. Like the EML, the main goal of this initiative is to improve access to high-quality affordable assistive products. Towards this, WHO is launching a global survey to identify 50 Most Priority Assistive Products. All stakeholders, especially the users/potential users or their family embers/organizations are specially encouraged to take part in this survey. Please share this survey with your colleagues and friends. Please complete this survey online or download the survey form and send the completed survey after selecting the 50 Most Priority Assistive Products to assistivetechnology@who.int.
From https://extranet.who.int/dataform/355553/, January 08, 2016

Best of CES 2016: Car Technology and the Rise of Virtual Reality
The Mashable Tech Team has been there for the announcements and the demos, and walked the halls of CES 2016 to find the standouts-in-waiting. This year’s show has seen both car technology and virtual reality rise to new prominence. Turntables made a surprise comeback. And after an inconsistent year, smart devices were still able to bring the “wow.”
From http://mashable.com/2016/01/07/best-tech-ces-2016/#NgG.My8yqkqV, January 08, 2016

W3C to be Honored with Emmy Award for Standards Work on Accessible Video Captioning and Subtitles
W3C is delighted to announce that it will receive a 2016 Technology & Engineering Emmy ® Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for its work on the Timed Text Mark-up Language standard that makes video content more accessible with text captioning and subtitles. Representatives from W3C staff and the Timed Text Working Group will attend the awards ceremony on 8 January at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
From https://www.w3.org/blog/news/archives/5253, January 06, 2016

USA: Researchers Find Way to Improve Image Sharpness for People with Vision Disabilities
Retinal implants that deliver longer pulses of electrical current may noticeably improve image sharpness for individuals who have lost their sight due to retinitis pigmentosa, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The research was published online in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/01/05/researchers-find-way-to-improve-image-sharpness-for-people-with-vision-disabilities/, January 05, 2016

UAE: Law Books Released in Braille
Dubai Police Academy has released seven law books to Braille to encourage reading by people who are blind. The newly-published Braille books can be borrowed by anyone, including students not attending the academy.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/01/05/law-books-released-in-braille/, January 05, 2016

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