USA: Landmark Court Ruling Allows University Libraries to Make Ten Million Accessible Books Available to Blind Readers around the Country
Judge Baer’s decision adopted the NFB’s arguments regarding fair use under the Copyright Act and permits university libraries to digitize their entire collections of books and printed media to make them searchable for all members of the university communities and fully accessible and available to the blind and print disabled. The decision not only allows access to members of the university communities, but it allows the university libraries to make ten million accessible books available to blind readers around the country.
From http://accessible-epub-3-reader.org/?p=337, October 25, 2012
Smart Glasses to Help People With Poor Vision to Navigate
Oxford University is touting the work of its researchers who are building a special set of electronic glasses that may help people with all sorts of vision conditions. Cameras in the frame would analyze the scene ahead and active glass would display important things either in a different part of the frame of view or interpret it with colors, brightness, and basic representations. The idea is being profiled at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition where visitors get to see how the system would function.
From http://medgadget.com/2011/07/smart-glasses-to-help-people-with-poor-vision-to-navigate-recognize-people-and-things.html, October 24, 2012
Lithuania Launches Video Sign Language Interpretation Service for People with Hearing Disabilities
Lithuania has launched a unique project for people with hearing disabilities that will facilitate their interaction with others. From now on, sign language interpretation services will be provided remotely using online chat applications and video calls through mobile phones. Such services have not been provided so far; the project is first of this kind, Lithuania’s Ministry of Social Security and Labour reports. This project will be implemented by Lintel, the winner of the tender announced by Kaunas County Sign Language Interpreters Centre.Lintel Contact Centre, situated in Kaunas, is equipped with five workstations where sign language professionals will help people who are deaf and hard of hearing to more easily find necessary information and use public and social services.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/10/12/lithuania-launches-video-sign-language-interpretation-service-for-people-with-hearing-disabilities/, October 19, 2012
Report: Making Voting more Accessible for Veterans with Disabilities in the U.S.
Although voting accessibility has improved since the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), voters with disabilities still face barriers to voting privately and independently. Compared to people without disabilities, people with disabilities are more likely to report having a voter registration problem,
experiencing difficulty with voting equipment, and needing help to vote. Since many veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have different types and severity of injury and disability than other civilians in the general population, the range of accommodations they need to participate in elections also differs.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/10/10/making-voting-more-accessible-for-veterans-with-disabilities/, October 19, 2012
Israel to Improve Disability Access at Universities and Colleges
The Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education decided to allocate the sums to help publicly supported institutions meet an amendment to the law on equal opportunity for persons with disabilities, which was passed in 2005. The equal opportunity law says that all such institutions must be accessible by November 1, 2014. No significant changes have been made until now in institutions of higher learning, and many have buildings that are only partially accessible – or completely inaccessible to persons with disabilities. University campuses generally need the most work, as they tend to have older buildings than the relatively newer colleges.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/10/09/israel-to-improve-disability-access-at-universities-and-colleges/, October 19, 2012
USA: Cinemark Introduces Movie Theatre Accessibility for Customers with Vision Disabilities
Cinemark Holdings, Inc., one of the world’s largest motion picture exhibitors, today announced that it is providing an audio description option for people who are blind or low vision, in all of its first-run theatres. Cinemark is installing audio description systems on a rolling basis across its circuit in conjunction with the chain’s conversion to an all-digital format. Installation is well under way, and all of Cinemark’s theaters in California already have audio description capability. Cinemark will be able to offer audio description at all of its first-run theaters by mid 2013.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/09/28/cinemark-introduces-movie-theatre-accessibility-for-customers-with-vision-disabilities/, October 19, 2012
USA: First Biennial Report on the Accessibility of Communications Technologies Released
Interesting news on the accessibility front this month with the release of the first biennial report to Congress on the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). The CVAA, which was passed in October, 2010, is an extension of the Communications Act of 1934 and, in a nutshell, is meant to ensure that communications and media services, content, and equipment are accessible to disabled users. It will require that things like smartphones are accessible, as well as video programming on television and the Internet. Under the CVAA the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) of the FCC must report to Congress every two years on how it’s going. This month’s report is the first of those and, while the full implementation of the many facets of the CVAA is still underway (and full compliance of some aspects won’t be mandatory until next year or beyond), the report provides a few interesting nuggets on the current state of accessibility for communications technologies.
From http://ht.ly/ex26z, October 17, 2012
Sign Language Proposed as Official Language in Ecuador
The presentation of the first dictionary of signs for deaf people in Ecuador became a lure so that this language is considered official language, besides Spanish, in recognition of this community of individuals. Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno, recognized the efforts for the elaboration of this new text and said that this is a language like any other, rich in nuances, emotions and idioms. Moreno said that from this dictionary it will be created a basic summary that public servants should learn in a short period so that they can offer a personalized attention to citizens with this limitation.
From http://ht.ly/ex1mr, October 17, 2012
W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Approved as ISO/IEC International Standard
Today the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Joint Technical Committee JTC 1, Information Technology of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), announced approval of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as an ISO/IEC International Standard (ISO/IEC 40500:2012). "This important accessibility standard, which is already widely deployed internationally, can now benefit from additional formal recognition from ISO/IEC national bodies," noted Jeff Jaffe, W3C CEO. "Such recognition is expected to increase internationally harmonized uptake of WCAG 2.0 by governments, business, and the broader Web community." "ISO/IEC JTC 1 is very pleased to bring on board this most important of W3C accessibility standards, given the increased interest in accessibility among JTC 1 National Bodies in recent years," said Karen Higginbottom, Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1. "We also expect that ISO/IEC recognition will encourage greater convergence around WCAG 2.0, further driving development of supporting tools and software."
From http://www.w3.org/2012/07/wcag2pas-pr.html, October 17, 2012
UK: Are Banks Failing People with Disabilities Online?
An extraordinary summer of Paralympic achievement helped shed light on disability sport in the UK, but was it enough to bring awareness to other areas that affect the disabled population? While Lord Coe claimed that "the games had a seismic effect in shifting public attitudes" towards the disabled community, what is actually being done about it? There are more than 10 million people with limiting long term illness, impairment, or disability in Great Britain. Of these, nearly 4 million have never used the internet. The 21st century has become a world dependent on technology, yet while 84% of non-disabled people live in households with internet access, only about 60% of disabled people can say the same. The truth is that even if they do go online, they do not have the same choice or access to all the products and services that everyone else has.
From http://www.guardian.co.uk/media-network/2012/oct/10/banks-failing-technology-access-disabled, October 15, 2012