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USA: A Smartwatch for the Visually Impaired Developed by University Students
Developed by University of Washington students, Dot translates When a group of students at the University of Washington saw a fellow classmate struggling with big heavy Braille books to study, it sparked an idea that could change the way the visually impaired interact with technology. Similar to other smartwatches on the market, Dot is designed to pair with a Bluetooth-enabled phone. When a text message arrives on the phone, the app translates it to Braille and sends it to Dot, which vibrates. Then the pins rise and fall to relay the characters. Other Dot features include a watch, alarm and notifications. Initial tests show Dot should last about five days between charges.
From http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/smartwatch-visually-impaired-180957581/?no-ist, December 21, 2015

Microsoft: Reaffirming Our Commitment to Accessibility
At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. This mission connects in fundamental ways with how we as a company operate, how we design and develop technology and how we work with others to serve people with disabilities. We are committed to delivering great experiences to people with disabilities, and as President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith noted earlier this month, this will require us to raise our ambition. Today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reaffirmed that accessibility is core to our mission, and outlined three commitments that will guide our progress as a company in an all-company mail.
From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/accessibility/archive/2015/12/16/reaffirming-our-commitment-to-accessibility.aspx, December 17, 2015

New Turkish Sign Language Dictionary Launched
The Family and Social Policies Ministry has introduced Turkey’s first sign language grammar book and dictionary. Previously, there was no official scientific resource on Turkish sign language. To rectify this, the ministry undertook the project in 2014 in 26 cities to prepare the dictionary. The book features almost 800,000 words illustrated with sign language along with grammar resources. Speaking at the launch event, Family and Social Policies Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu said 16 percent of persons with disabilities have a hearing disabilities. She said the project drew from other scientific studies on Turkish sign language as well. The grammar book will be translated into English next year.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/16/new-turkish-sign-language-dictionary-launched/, December 17, 2015

UN-Habitat Launches Publication, “The Right to Adequate Housing for Persons with Disabilities Living in Cities”
Earlier this month, we celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with this year’s theme “Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities”. On this occasion, the UN Housing Rights Programme launched its publication on “The right to adequate housing for persons with disabilities living in cities”. Building on the state of international human rights law and state obligations, the publication outlines the barriers and impediments persons with disabilities face for accessing and realizing their right to adequate housing.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/16/un-habitat-launches-publication-on-the-right-to-adequate-housing-for-persons-with-disabilities-living-in-cities/, December 17, 2015

Canada: Ontario Appoints New Chair to Lead Accessibility Advisory Council
Ontario has appointed Rich Donovan as the new Chair of the province’s Accessibility Standards Advisory Council (ASAC). The Council is responsible for providing high-level strategic advice to the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure on matters related to the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. Mr. Donovan is a globally renowned authority on disability and corporate profitability. He has helped provide clients and global governments with insights to frame disability as a global emerging market. He is also the publisher of The Global Economics of Disability Annual Report and his expertise on the scope and value of the disability market is sought by businesses, government and non-government organizations around the world.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/17/ontario-appoints-new-chair-to-lead-accessibility-advisory-council/, December 17, 2015

Saudi Arabia: Mobily Launches Project to Support Children with Disabilities
Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has launched ‘Mobily Customers’ project to support the Disabled Children’s Association, under the patronage of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. For this purpose, a unified number 5050 has been allocated to the charity and all proceeds from donations through the code will be channeled towards ‘Khair Makkah’ project, said a statement. The agreement, in this regard was signed between Prince Sultan, chairman of Disabled Children’s Association and Mobily CEO at Al Faisaliah Hotel as part of the Second National Forum for recruiting people with disabilities, in the presence of a large number of company officials, members of board and directors and members of the charitable association, it said.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/17/mobily-launches-project-to-support-children-with-disabilities/, December 17, 2015

USA: IoT Spending Forecast to Reach $1.3 Trillion by 2019
According to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) Spending Guide, worldwide spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) will grow at a 17.0% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from $698.6 billion in 2015 to nearly $1.3 trillion in 2019. On a geographic basis, Asia/Pacific is the clear leader when it comes to IoT spending with more than 40% of the worldwide total coming from this region in 2015. North America and Western Europe are the second and third largest regions with combined spending of more than $250 billion in 2015. The regions that will experience the fastest growth in IoT spending over the five-year forecast period are Latin America (26.5% CAGR), followed by Western Europe, and Central and Eastern Europe.
From http://www.machinetomachinemagazine.com/2015/12/14/iot-spending-forecast-to-reach-1-3-trillion-by-2019/, December 15, 2015

New Zealand: Disability Action Plan and Disability Strategy being updated
Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today released the updated Disability Action Plan 2014 – 2018 and announced the first steps in the revision of the New Zealand Disability Strategy. “The Disability Action Plan brings together multiple government agencies to act on disability issues and is jointly governed with Disabled People’s Organisations. It was updated to make sure it was relevant and focused on the issues that are the most important to disabled people and the disability sector,” Ms Wagner says. “There was strong interest, with multiple disability organizations providing feedback and more than 50 official submissions received during public consultation.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/15/disability-action-plan-and-disability-strategy-being-updated/, December 15, 2015

Bangladesh: Dhaka Calls for Inclusion in DRR
There was a resounding call for greater inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in disaster risk management worldwide if the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is to deliver on its promise of being people-centered. Participants at the Dhaka Conference on Disability and Disaster Risk Management in Bangladesh, adopted a strong declaration calling for inclusion and leadership of persons with disabilities within all disaster risk management programs. At least two countries per region should have representation of persons with disabilities on all disaster management committees by the end of 2017, given their higher rates of mortality in disaster events.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/15/dhaka-call-for-inclusion-in-drr/, December 15, 2015

Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Education Launches Program for Students with Disabilities in Riyadh
This educational program is the first of its kind that has been launched in the regions and governorates in the Kingdom,” said Mohammed Al-Mirshid, director general of the Department of Education in Riyadh region. Called “My start”, the program aims to encourage students with disabilities to explore hidden talents and excel in their fields of interest. The program is backed by lectures and social events to inform and educate the community about disabilities. Meanwhile, the Department of Education recently announced to public high school students an initiative called “Twenty students in twenty schools”. Under the initiative, 20 students will be recruited from 20 high schools and they will undergo development in culture, talent as well as scientific research. The initiative is in collaboration with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/15/ministry-of-education-launches-program-for-students-with-disabilities/, December 15, 2015

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