Celebrating Disability Innovations in Technology
Accessible software, devices, and systems are routinely improving the lives of millions of disabled people. When designed and built correctly, technology can be a great enabler for everyone, including disabled people. Whether it’s making routine or daily tasks easier to perform, introducing workplace efficiencies or transforming how we connect with the world, technology drives change and transforms just about every part of our everyday lives. However, even though new technology products and services continue to expand at a seemingly exponential rate, accessibility is not always built in – and this is deeply problematic.
From http://www.itproportal.com/2016/04/28/celebrating-disability-innovations-in-technology/, April 29, 2016
Disability Advocates to Regulators: Consider Us When Making Self-Driving Laws
Without fail, auto and tech companies start every conversation about self-driving cars with statistics. Whether they’re floating the average number of traffic fatalities a year (33,000) or the number of lives saved by vehicle safety technology (613,501), their point is always: Enhanced vehicle technology saves lives. But while the ultimate goal of reducing traffic fatalities and injuries through self-driving technology is certainly admirable (and ambitious!), the immediate benefits those with disabilities could reap from self-driving technologies are often treated as a secondary part of the conversation.
From http://recode.net/2016/04/27/disability-advocates-to-regulators-consider-us-when-making-self-driving-laws/?platform=hootsuite, April 29, 2016
Cheap ‘Touchable Ink’ Brings Everything to Life for Visually Impaired People
The Touchable Ink dilates in certain thermal conditions, explains Satit Jantawiwat, chief creative officer at J. Walter Thompson Bangkok, one of the institutions that came up with the new ink. “This results in an embossed effect that makes the printed areas highly perceptible to the sense of touch. This innovative ink can therefore enable braille printing on normal paper through normal printers to substitute a dedicated braille embosser that is far more expensive,” he says.
From https://www.techinasia.com/touchable-ink-for-blind-partially-sighted-people, April 28, 2016
Sustainable Buildings Need To Be Smarter Buildings
The value of designing and constructing more sustainable buildings is no longer in question. Every sector faces the challenge of reducing net emissions and playing a role in decarbonizing the economy. Companies involved in managing real-estate assets, and companies with large physical footprints, increasingly measure their building emissions and seek to reduce them as a matter of policy. Adding to this is the growing evidence that more sustainable buildings can have a higher value. Research done by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) on the value of BREEAM certified buildings have shown they can command a rental premium of up to 19.7 percent, and an increased sale value of up to 14.7 percent relative to non-certified buildings in the same location.
From https://www.greenbiz.com/article/sustainable-buildings-need-be-smarter-buildings, April 28, 2016
Translating Accessibility Issues Into Agile Solutions
At Deque, we pride ourselves on delivering a complete set of tools and services to help our customers achieve success in web accessibility. The meaning of “complete” in this context is ever evolving, however. As we learn what our customers need in order to succeed, we react by incorporating their needs into our offerings. Recently, in direct response to such a need, we learned how to augment the manner in which we identify and deliver accessibility issues to our customers’ development teams, and the results have been tangible improvements in ease of understanding and accuracy of remediation. In the content that follows, I will describe the need for this process improvement, and describe the benefits it offers to our customers.
From http://www.deque.com/blog/translating-accessibility-issues-agile-solutions/, April 28, 2016
Cheap Technology - And a Bit of Good Will - Are Bringing Hearing Aids to the World's Poor
"It's amazing what you can find in a kid's ear...think bugs and cockroaches and little tiny kids with a tremendous amount of mold coming out of their ears." That's Audra Renyi, executive director and co-founder of a 5-year-old Montreal-based nonprofit called "World Wide Hearing Foundation International" that wants to help the world's other 99%: The hearing-impaired people in poor countries who can't afford a hearing aid, debilitated by a condition that usually has a simple tech fix in wealthier societies.
From http://www.fastcompany.com/3059229/cheap-technology-and-a-bit-of-good-will-are-bringing-hearing-aids-to-the-worlds-poor, April 27, 2016
USA: Hearing Aid Prices Under Pressure From Consumer Electronics
At the Audiology Now! convention here last week, visitors stood next to blowing electric fans to experience how a new hearing aid could screen out wind noise. They donned goggles to attend a virtual reality dinner party to learn how new technology made it easier to hear conversations around them. The consumer electronics industry is encroaching on the hearing aid business, offering products that are far less expensive and available without the involvement of audiologists or other professionals.
From http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/business/hearing-aid-business-feels-pressure-from-consumer-electronics.html?_r=2, April 27, 2016
It’s Time To Make Web Accessibility Integral To Your Project Lifecycle
It is imperative that accessibility considerations are integrated at each stage of a project's life-cycle, and are not treated as an arbitrary exercise. But why is that, and what happens if they aren't? The definition of ‘web accessibility’ and the scope of what it refers to should encompass the complete combination of interfaces that sit between the application interface (which conveys semantics), and the user’s cognitive evaluation of those semantics. For example, an unsupported browser used against a well-designed application may be as detrimental to the user journey as an assistive technology used against an application that is not using semantic HTML.
From https://econsultancy.com/blog/67751-it-s-time-to-make-web-accessibility-integral-to-your-project-lifecycle/, April 26, 2016
Bahrain Marks Arab Deaf Week
Bahrain celebrated the 41st edition to Arab Week for the Deaf. Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan opened the ceremony at Bahrain and Kuwait Rehabilitation Centre in Isa Town. The event was attended by Bahrain Deaf Society Chairman Aqeel Ali Hassan, guests and other officials. Addressing the opening event, he stressed the keenness of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development to take care of people with hearing disabilities.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/25/bahrain-marks-arab-deaf-week/, April 26, 2016
USA: Netflix to Improve Features for Customers Who are Blind
In a first-of-its-kind settlement, advocates for people who are blind have reached an agreement with Netflix to make accessible the movies and videos offered through the Netflix video streaming and DVD rental subscriptions. The settlement provides that Netflix will make its video content accessible by adding a new technology called “audio description” as a feature that customers who are blind can activate so they can more fully understand and enjoy the movie and video experience.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/25/netflix-to-improve-features-for-customers-who-are-blind/, April 26, 2016