USA: BREAK Project Creates Free Assistive Devices for People with Disabilities
Ordinarily, it takes years before the work of scientists and engineers make an impact on the lives of everyday people in their community. But for some students of engineering at the University of Kansas, the satisfaction of helping others is happening today. Thanks to a $125,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Ken Fischer, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is leading his students in a capstone design/build project to provide Kansans living with disabilities custom-designed assistive devices, such as mobility or communication aids, to improve their quality of life.
From http://phys.org/news/2012-10-free-devices-people-disabilities.html, October 15, 2012
USA: Netflix Pledges to Caption all Content by 2014
Netflix will offer closed captions on all TV and movie content by September 2014 as part of a settlement with a deaf Massachusetts viewer who sued the company. The on-demand Internet streaming service agreed to the settlement Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield. Closed captions are currently available on 90% of Netflix's content, as measured by hours watched.
From http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2019397206_apusnetflixcaptions.html, October 15, 2012
USA: President Obama Declares October 15 as Blind Americans Equality Day
By joint resolution approved on October 6, 1964 (Public Law 88-628, as amended), the Congress designated October 15 of each year as "White Cane Safety Day" to recognize the contributions of Americans who are blind or have low vision. Today, let us recommit to strengthening our Union and ensuring we remain a Nation where all our people, including those living with disabilities, have every opportunity to achieve their dreams. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 15, 2012, as Blind Americans Equality Day. I call upon public officials, business and community leaders, educators, librarians, and Americans across the country to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.
From http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/10/15/presidential-proclamation-blind-americans-equality-day-2012, October 15, 2012
USA: Department of Education Announces New App to Identify U.S. Currency
The U.S. Department of Education announced today the launch of the “IDEAL Currency Identifier,” a free downloadable [Android] application (app) to assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired to denominate U.S. currency on some mobile devices. The IDEAL Currency Identifier was developed by IDEAL Group, [Apps4Android], IQ Engines, and the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology through a grant from the Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), a component of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
From http://www.apps4android.org/?p=4035, October 12, 2012
USA: Justice Department Releases Report on Accessibility of Federal Government Electronic and Information Technology
The Justice Department announced the release of its “Section 508 report to the President and Congress: “Accessibility of Federal Electronic and Information Technology.” The report, authorized under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 508) provides findings based on a survey of federal agencies on the accessibility of their electronic and information technology (EIT) and the procedures used to implement the requirements of Section 508.
From http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/September/12-crt-1103.html, October 12, 2012
Promoting Voter Registration among People with Disabilities in Cameroon
In every country in the world, approximately 15 to 20 percent of the population lives with one or more disabilities. These people often face challenges well beyond the physical: discrimination and exploitation are common. People with disabilities are often underrepresented in political office, and marginalized by policies that are blind to their needs and interests.
In Cameroon, approximately 15 percent of the population lives with disabilities. People with disabilities are the least represented demographic among politicians, top level government officials and even registered voters. Not a single person with a disability currently holds a parliamentary office or serves in an executive government position. The majority of people with disabilities who are eligible to vote are not registered. Among those who are, up to 80 percent were unable to participate in the 2011 presidential elections due to a lack of knowledge and awareness of electoral processes and procedures, and a lack of accessible registration and voting facilities.
From http://bit.ly/QYaTPA, October 12, 2012
USA: Department of Labor Launches Virtual Workplace Flexibility Toolkit during National Disability Employment Awareness Month
The U.S. Department of Labor has launched its online Workplace Flexibility Toolkit to provide employees, job seekers, employers, policymakers and researchers with information, resources and a unique approach to workplace flexibility.
Workplace flexibility policies and practices typically focus on when and where work is done. The toolkit adds a new dimension — an emphasis on flexibility around job tasks and what work is done. Funded by the department's Office of Disability Employment Policy in partnership with the department's Women's Bureau, the toolkit makes more than 170 resources easily accessible, particularly for workers and job seekers with complex employment situations, such as parents of young children, single parents, family caregivers, mature workers, at-risk youth, ex-offenders, and individuals with disabilities, including veterans with disabilities and people with HIV/AIDS.
From http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/odep/ODEP20122014.htm#.UHz74K7fJqJ, October 12, 2012
India: WIPO General Assemblies Approve Road Map on Treaty for the Visually Impaired
In a significant development the 50th session of Assemblies of WIPO member states reached a breakthrough decision on how to complete negotiations on a pact to improve access to copyrighted works for the many visually impaired or print disabled people around the world.
From http://cis-india.org/accessibility/blog/wipo-approves-road-map-on-tv, October 11, 2012
USA: Postal Service Heightens Awareness for Employees with Disabilities
Postal employees with disabilities have access to a variety of assistive technology tools, including — but not limited to — Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) and Video Relay Service (VRS) for the deaf or hard of hearing and screen reading software and text readers for those with visual impairments. Employees can also use the Postal Reasonable Accommodation Assistance Center (PRAAC) website — a one-stop resource for employees and managers to find reference material, definitions and useful links to help employees better understand reasonable accommodations.
From http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2012/pr12_112.htm, October 11, 2012
Redefining Medicine With Apps and iPads
The proliferation of gadgets, apps and Web-based information has given clinicians — especially young ones like Dr. Rajkomar, who is 28 — a black bag of new tools: new ways to diagnose symptoms and treat patients, to obtain and share information, to think about what it means to be both a doctor and a patient. And it has created something of a generational divide. Older doctors admire, even envy, their young colleagues’ ease with new technology. But they worry that the human connections that lie at the core of medical practice are at risk of being lost.
From http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/science/redefining-medicine-with-apps-and-ipads-the-digital-doctor.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1, October 09, 2012