Mobile Services and E-Empowerment -- The Developing World has the Advantage
The developing world and emerging countries such as China and India are far ahead of the U.S. and Europe in creating services available to mobile phone users -- providing technology-based empowerment (or e-empowerment) to customers who typically fall outside of formal sectors such as banking. Mobile services such as sharing credits, providing cash, paying bills, supporting small and medium (SME's) enterprises, and sharing health information from HIV/AIDS to prenatal care -- all have become the order of the day for many in the developing world.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amb-robin-renee-sanders/post_4203_b_2253551.html?utm_hp_ref=tw, December 11, 2012
Proposed New ASL Signs Could Change how Deaf People Discuss Science
Hearing people take for granted our ability to convey scientific terms in conversation, from concepts as simple as weight and mass to chromosomes and covalent bonding. But for people who rely on sign languages, such as American Sign Language and British Sign Language, discussing scientific concepts isn't so simple. But there are many in the scientific and sign linguistics communities who are looking to change that by adding standard scientific signs to their lexicons.
From http://io9.com/5966906/proposed-new-asl-signs-could-change-how-deaf-people-discuss-science, December 10, 2012
Wiki Launches Accessibility Toolkit to Empower People with Disabilities to use Social Media in Emergencies
The online toolkit provides tips, resources and apps to help people with a disability to overcome accessibility challenges of social media. The kit also includes guidelines to assist the emergency sector, government, community, media and business to make social media messages more accessible.
From http://emergency20wiki.org/20121210/wiki-launches-accessibility-toolkit, December 10, 2012
USA: Kindle Fire Line Builds its Voice and Touch Accessibility Skills
Amazon is making strides to make its entire Kindle Fire tablet series more accessible to all consumers via expanded support for two very important features. The two features in question are the Voice Guide and Explore by Touch navigation tools. With these features, the goal is to both help vision-impaired Kindle owners read books more easily and aid those with learning disabilities to improve their reading skills.
From news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57557742-94/kindle-fire-line-builds-its-voice-and-touch-accessibility-skills, December 10, 2012
Mobile Health Tech: From Novel Startups to Global Industry
Mobile health technologies are the fastest growing sector of one of the fastest growing markets in the world, projected to be worth $11.8 billion by 2018. At the mHealth summit last week in Washington, D.C., 4,000 people shared, networked, and, in the words of NIH presenter Roderic Pettigrew, took time for evaluation. Mobile health has grown so large so quickly -- about half of all doctors use mobile health apps, and a quarter of consumers -- that the conference provided a much-needed opportunity to make sense of what the field has become.
From http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/12/mobile-health-tech-from-novel-startups-to-global-industry/266063/, December 10, 2012
Making Android Apps Voice Output Accessible
While many people know iOS comes with built in voice output support in the form of VoiceOver, fewer seem aware that Android is catching up. Since version 2.2 the Talkback screen reader has been available to download from the Android Market and since version 4 has been bundled with the operating system. Integrating core accessibility into Android app development is relatively straightforward to do and should be considered as business as usual for every project.
From http://www.netmagazine.com/tutorials/making-android-apps-voice-output-accessible, December 07, 2012
EU Commission Proposes Rules to Make Government Websites Accessible for All
Over 100 million EU citizens would find it easier to use online public services to look for a job, register a car, submit a tax declaration and apply for a passport or driving license thanks to new rules proposed today by the European Commission on the International Day of People with Disability. The Commission's proposal for a Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies' websites would introduce mandatory EU standardized accessibility features, from the end of 2015, for 12 types of websites.
From http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/commission-proposes-rules-make-government-websites-accessible-all, December 07, 2012
USA: Labor Department Opens Free-to-Use Database of 3,000 Candidates with Disabilities
The US Department of Labor has built a database of nearly 3,000 candidates with disabilities, available for use free by private and public sector employers, in collaboration with the Department of Defense’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity. Among the 2013 Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) database, 7.8% are veterans and 54.5% have self-identified as Schedule A eligible, meaning that they may be hired (or later promoted) by federal agencies without opening the job for competition, according to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
From http://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2012/12/us-labor-department-opens-free-to-use-database-of-3000-candidates-with-disabilities/, December 07, 2012
Resource: Assistive Technology - Devices to Help with Everyday Living
Dementia makes day-to-day life more difficult. Little things like mislaying keys, forgetting to turn off the taps or leaving the gas unlit can prove frustrating or even create hazards. This factsheet looks at technological developments that can help make life easier for people with dementia and their carers in certain situations. It also suggests the steps to take if you think that you, or someone you are caring for, could benefit from some of these devices.
From http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=109., December 07, 2012
Microsoft and European Disability Forum Support EU Commission's Government Website Accessibility Proposal
Accessibility is now high on the European agenda as the European Union and 24 out of the 27 EU Member States have ratified the United-Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which states that persons with disabilities have the rights to access the digital environment to the same extent as anyone else. The European Digital Agenda and the European Disability Strategy 2010-20 have announced the presentation of a European Accessibility Act and of proposal for legislation covering access to public sector websites and websites delivering basic services to citizens.
From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/accessibility/archive/2012/12/03/european-disability-forum-and-microsoft-team-up-to-enhance-accessibility.aspx, December 07, 2012