USA: Disability Point of View Included in FCC Technology Transitions Workshop
On March 18, 2013, the FCC held a public meeting with three expert panels on technology transitions. The panels focused on the technology-based transitions in the overall technology ecosystem such as from narrow band to broadband Internet using new technologies or updating older ones. COAT co-founder Jenifer Simpson – and now the project director for the Accessible Technology Action Center (ATAC) – was a panelist on the second panel that looked at “Usage and Adoption.” In her remarks, she mentioned the trends toward “bring your own device (BYOD)”, greater use of wireless by people with vision disabilities as there are now more accessible devices in the marketplace, the growing use of apps, and the growth of IP-enabled devices, including household appliances and health care devices.
From http://www.coataccess.org/node/10134?goback=%2Egmr_3080152%2Egde_3080152_member_226112584, March 27, 2013
USA: First ADA ATM Accessibility Class Action Lawsuit is Filed in Atlanta
The first of what is likely to be many Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ATM accessibility class action lawsuits against Atlanta-area banks was filed in federal district court in Atlanta last week. The lawsuit was filed by the same Pittsburgh-based law firm, Carlson Lynch, responsible for the filing of over 100 nearly identical ADA ATM class action lawsuits in federal district courts in Pennsylvania and Texas since March 2012.
From http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=89484d78-382c-4230-823b-282e1f607ada, March 27, 2013
Video: Unlocking the Power of the iPad for the Blind
On this week's "Innovators," Bloomberg's Jon Erlichman takes us inside a workshop that instructs teachers on how to unlock the power of the iPad for the visually impaired.
From http://www.bloomberg.com/video/unlocking-the-power-of-the-ipad-for-the-blind-~cj884a7S92Nn5qTInjfBg.html, March 26, 2013
Australia: Accessibility in Social Media
For some time we’ve been talking about Accessibility in Social Media and have provided lots of tips on how to make the Government’s use of Social Media more accessible for people who may be using adaptive strategies or assistive technologies. To add to the growing compendium of advice in this area, the US Government recently released some tips on Improving the Accessibility of Social media in Government, a series of ‘How to’ guides. It includes great information and smart tips for making Facebook and Twitter posts as well as YouTube videos more accessible.
From http://agimo.gov.au/2013/03/21/accessibility-in-social-media/, March 26, 2013
PEOPLECERT Group Launches Global Hotel Accessibility Certification Scheme
Accessibility Pass is a global hotel certification scheme that classifies hotels’ accessibility level based on their infrastructure, services and personnel skills. The scheme is the only global scheme that offers uniform assessment and classification while taking into consideration current national accessibility requirements. It is applicable to Hotels of any size, category and type and to Conference Centers. The Scheme verifies that a hotel or a conference center offers people with disabilities an equal service experience as to any other client. It does not guarantee the overall quality of services offered.
From http://www.accessibilitypass.org/en/Pages/AccessibilityPass.aspx, March 25, 2013
Government of Canada Supports Assistive Technology Development in Ottawa
The Honourable Gordon O’Connor, Member of Parliament for Carleton – Mississippi Mills, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), today announced Government of Canada investments of up to $3.67 million to support sixstart-up technology development companies in the Ottawa area. “Our government continues to support the drivers of growth and job creation – innovation, investment, education, skills and communities,” said Minister O’Connor. “Investments like the ones announced today will help start-up businesses increase their international market share and create jobs in the Ottawa area.”
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/03/21/government-of-canada-supports-assistive-technology-development-in-ottawa/, March 25, 2013
Internet Technology to Make it More Accessible for the Disabled
WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative- Accessible Rich Internet Applications), are planning to make life on the internet significantly easier for the able body challenged! As it currently stands, it is very difficult to negotiate a web site if you can’t use a mouse and limited to keyboard operations. Imagine that for a moment, remove your mouse and use the keyboard only. Not much fun I can assure you, and darn frustrating. The able bodied don’t think about this much, unless of course you’re involved in the industry of helping those who need support in this area. Also, imagine how difficult it would be to create web content if you were limited to a screen reader. Even the able bodied use them to enable multitasking! But, they’re fairly limiting. Imagine having to tab through every single option on a website, before you get to the one at the bottom of the page. We able bodied use a mouse to maneuver this. Imagine trying to drag and drop without the use of a mouse.
From http://guardianlv.com/2013/03/internet-technology-to-make-it-more-accessible-for-the-disabled/, March 25, 2013
Robot Helps Teach Kids with Autism
Researchers have helped create apps and online platforms to assist children with autism. But one team at Vanderbilt University is introducing something which may have a leg up on capturing kids' attention: humanoid robots. Mechanical engineers and autism experts constructed an adaptive system using NAO, a fully-programmable robot. Paired with cameras, sensors and computers, the friendly robot is designed to help children develop basic social learning skills.
From http://mashable.com/2013/03/21/robot-autism/, March 22, 2013
22nd Regular Session Human Rights Council: Work and Employment of Persons with Disabilities
Votes on Draft Resolutions under Agenda Item:3 - Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. The work and employment of persons with disabilities
From http://webtv.un.org/search/ahrc22l.4-vote-item:3-47th-meeting-22nd-regular-session-human-rights-council/2241796596001?term=human+rights+council&sort=date, March 22, 2013
Microsoft Demos Improvements to Bing Voice Recognition for Windows Phone
"Nothing says fun like a speech demo." Those are the words of Microsoft's CTSO Eric Rudder, not ours -- although we do have to agree. As you'll see for yourself in the video after the break, Microsoft held a private event for its employees a few weeks ago showcasing some of the advancements it's achieved with Bing's voice search for Windows Phone. Thanks to the work of MS' Research arm and the folks at Advanced Technology Group, voice recognition accuracy on a prototype build has now been improved by up to 15-percent on the back end and should even see a further 10- to 15-percent performance boost. In addition to this decreased error rate, the team's also greatly enhanced the speed at which the app delivers relevant results. So when can you expect this new and improved Bing app for WP? That part's unclear, but it appears Microsoft's already implementing changes on the back end to bolster current use.
From http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/21/microsoft-prototype-bing-app-for-windows-phone/, March 22, 2013