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Japan: University Professor Designs Electronic Cane to Help the Blind
Associate professor Mitsuhiro Okayasu at the Akita Prefectural University has designed an electronic cane that will help blind people sense obstacles in their path at the level of their eyes, where normal canes help blind people identify objects at ground level.
From Disabilitynewsasia.com, February 11, 2011

Archaelogical Survey of India to Make Monuments Disabled Friendly
Signage in Braille, tactile exhibits and audio guides are among the few measures the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) plans to implement in order to make museums and monuments in the country's capital of New Delhi more friendly towards visually impaired people. The ASI is in talks with the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun, that works under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, to introduce several Braille devices and signages at the sites. Officials said following a request from the Ministry, the ASI has been coordinating with the NIVH to develop the system.
From disabilitynewsasia.com, February 11, 2011

UK: Equality Laws Aid Economic Recovery, Says Equalities Chief Trevor Phillips
Britain has no chance of a \"sustained\" economic recovery without greater fairness at work, equalities chief Trevor Phillips has said. In a speech, Mr Phillips urged sceptical firms to see the new equality laws as a \"competitive advantage\".
From BBC, February 11, 2011

Accessibility Watch: Q & A with Josh Safdie of the 2011 Ideas Competition
"When news of an ideas competition, focused on designing a neighborhood based on the principles of Universal Design and sustainability, arrived recently I was jazzed. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed by Congress two decades ago, we’ve seen a lot well meaning or uninformed attempts and some really annoying remedies (like the Braille on hotel room doors: how does a sight-impaired person find this little protrusion?), and some worthwhile things like elegantly pitched curb cuts and architecturally appealing ramps. But there’s so much left of be done."
From Metropolismag.com, February 10, 2011

High-Tech Help for Disabled Learners
An ever-growing array of assistive technology is available to help students read, write term papers and take tests. From pens that can remember to text that can talk, such technologies are now being held up as important tools for students with learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia (trouble writing) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “These technologies help level a playing field for individuals who would not be able to demonstrate their capabilities as learners.”
From nytimes.com, February 10, 2011

USA: Vision Impaired Visitors to Seattle Art Museum 'See' Paintings
Donnie Wilburn lost nearly all of her sight about three years ago. After years of being an artist and an art docent at Seattle Art Museum, all she can see now are shadows. But on a special tour Saturday — soon to be a regular offering at the museum — she came away as fulfilled as she did when her vision was strong. Instead of gazing at paintings in the Picasso exhibit, she listened to detailed descriptions given by docents trained to paint verbal pictures of the artwork.
From Seattletimes.nwsource.com, February 10, 2011

Disability Market Worth GBP80 Billion Annually
Businesses must not lose sight of serving those with disabilities if they are to benefit from revenue opportunities presented by events such as the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games, People 1st has said. The organisation, which is the sector skills council for the hospitality, leisure, tourism and travel industries, said businesses that fail to cater for customers with disabilities will lose out.
From Uknetguide.co.uk, February 10, 2011

Pew Research: For a Majority of Americans, Just Getting Online is a Struggle
Several recent reports tell a troubling story about Americans with disabilities: While many would have no trouble using the Internet, a large percentage lack access to it in the home. Consider these contrasting numbers: 54 percent of American adults with disabilities use the Internet, compared with 81 percent of those who do not claim to have a disability, according to a report released this morning by the Pew Research Center.
From msnbc.com, February 09, 2011

European Commission Promises New Accessibility Act by 2012
European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding told MEPs last week that she will present a proposal for a 'European Accessibility Act' before the end of 2012. This new legislation is seen by the Commission as a key element of the European Disability Strategy, which was unveiled last year. The Commission will develop common standards for ICT (information and communication technologies), the built environment and product design.
From Euractiv.com, February 09, 2011

Study: Understanding how Homesign Learners Count
A new study has concluded that people who communicate using self-developed gestures, called homesigns, were unable to comprehend the value of numbers greater than three because they had not learned a language containing symbols used for counting. The study was based on research on deaf people in Nicaragua who never learned formal sign language. The findings are reported in the paper, "Number Without a Language Model," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
From The Indian Express, February 08, 2011

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