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USA: From Smartphones to E-books, New Technologies Expand Options for the Blind
There are more than 1.3 million blind people in the United States, and for decades many have been successfully using technology to improve their lives. But they’ve typically had to rely on blind-specific products like computers with expensive text-to-speech software. Now, smart phones and other mainstream devices are compatible with recording software that help the blind. We look at how the blind are using these new technologies.
From hereandnow.org, March 24, 2011

Feds Broaden Workplace Protections to Include Invisible Disabilities
New rules expanding what qualifies as a disability for the purpose of job discrimination protections are set to be published on 25 March in the Federal Register. While people with disabilities have long been protected in the workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, what qualified as a disability was often open to interpretation and ended up somewhat constrained by the courts. As a result, in 2008, Congress passed the ADA Amendments Act, which was designed to ensure a broader definition of disability.
From disabilityscoop.com, March 24, 2011

USA: Columbia Doctors Partner with IBM to Develop Watson's Potential in Healthcare
Last month, IBM’s Watson took down a pair of Jeopardy! champions, and now it’s on to bigger and better things. A team of Columbia University doctors led by Dr. Herbert Chase have been working with IBM to adapt Watson’s algorithms for diagnosing medical conditions. The researchers have been providing the computer with a list of symptoms, and have been assessing its ability to provide a diagnosis.
From medgadget.com, March 24, 2011

IBM Launches Network of ‘Spoken Web’ Sites In India
The conventional wisdom says that access to the Web is good for the poor because they get access to information that can help them improve their lot in life through education and finding jobs. But what good is a PC and a Web connection if you can’t read or write?
From newenterprise, March 23, 2011

USA: COAT Affiliate AFB Gives Awards for Significant Accessibility Innovations
COAT leading affiliate AFB presented awards to several companies and individuals who made products accessible to users with visual impairments. Recipients of the AFB 2011 Access Awards included CBS, Walt Disney, Accessible Twitter and Lexmark.
From coataccess.org, March 23, 2011

Accessibility: A New Frontier for Mobile Technologies
Mobile communications technology intended to benefit persons with disabilities and aging adults can bring considerable benefits to users with or without disabilities as mobile service providers implement innovative strategies and business processes to promote them, according to a White Paper released today by G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies. The White Paper "Accessibility, Innovation and Sustainability at AT&T," highlights telecommunications company AT&T's efforts to integrate Universal Design (designing products and services for the greatest number of users) and accessibility in product development, customer services and other areas.
From prnewswire.com, March 22, 2011

USA: Microsoft's Kinect Hacked to Guide the Blind
Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber from the University of Konstanz in Germany have created a system that uses a Kinect mounted atop a helmet along with a vibrating waist belt to help visually impaired people navigate through indoor locations. It's all part of the NAVI project (Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired).
From msnbc.msn.com, March 22, 2011

USA: GSA - Cloud Computing Is Safer Than You Think
GSA assistant commissioner Mary Davie tries to dispel cloud computing 'myths' and says a phased deployment strategy will raise the chances for successful projects.
From InformationWeek, March 22, 2011

Accessible Digital Content for the Disabled
While we exploit technology and work on interoperability to share digital contents over multiple platforms, what we don’t realise is that we might inadvertently leave behind a group of individuals who may have difficulty accessing these digital content, said Chia Woon Yee, Director of Technology & Vocational Training at the Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD).
From FutureGov Asia Pacific, March 22, 2011

India: High Court Asks Architect Body to Conduct Survey of Disability Access of All Government Buildings
In a ray of hope for disabled and senior citizens, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court has asked the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) to conduct a survey of all the government/semi–government buildings in the city on facilities being offered. The IIA has been told to take the help of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) town planning officer and submit the report within four months. A division bench comprising justices Dilip Sinha and Ashok Bhangale also directed the authorities to install facilities in the Vasantrao Deshpande Hall within a stipulated time. The bench was hearing a plea filed by a city–based retired disabled scientist PN Andhare through his counsel Trupti Udeshi.
From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com, March 22, 2011

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