Finland: Mobile Phone Navigation Service for Older People
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a mobile phone-based navigation service which guides older users to the right address, even when lost in a strange town. The result of a European project, the service helps older people to use public transport, assisting them along the entire route. Developed through the European ASSISTANT (Aiding SuStainable Independent Senior TrAvellers to Navigate in Towns) project, the application can be used on computers as well as mobile phones.
From http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-10/vtrc-mpn101615.php, October 29, 2015
Google’s Smarthome Campaign Lets the Houses do the Talking
Nest, a home automation company bought by Google for $3.2 billion in 2014, has created several tongue-in-cheek videos to educate the public about its smart home technology. The Nest Learning Thermostat knows a home owner’s schedule and changes the house temperature accordingly. Then there’s a smoke detector that talks to you, tells you where the smoke is coming from and allows you to silence the alarm from your phone. There is the Nest Cam, with night vision and activity alerts, which allows you to watch what’s going on in your house from your phone. The competitive home automation market was worth an estimated $4.41 billion in 2014. Apple introduced its own system, HomeKit, while Samsung launched its SmartThings hub last month
From http://www.domain.com.au/news/googles-smart-home-campaign-lets-the-houses-do-the-talking-8211-literally-20151028-gkkj8h/, October 28, 2015
USA: 3D Printing Creates Major Breakthrough for People with Vision Disabilities
3DPhotoWorks LLC, with support from the National Federation of the Blind, announces a 3D printing process that allows people who are blind to “see” fine art, diagrams, and other images. This recently patented process converts any conventional painting, drawing, collage or photograph into a 3D Tactile Fine Art Print. Prints have length, width, depth, and texture and are available in sizes up to 60″ x 120″.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/10/27/3d-printing-creates-major-breakthrough-for-people-with-vision-disabilities/, October 28, 2015
USA: IBM, Carnegie Mellon University Create Open Platform to Help People With Vision Disabilities Navigate Better
Scientists from IBM Research and Carnegie Mellon University announced the first open platform designed to support the creation of smartphone apps that can enable people who are blind or have low vision to better navigate their surroundings. The IBM and CMU researchers used the platform to create a pilot app, called NavCog, that draws on existing sensors and cognitive technologies to inform blind people on the CMU campus about their surroundings by “whispering” into their ears through earbuds or by creating vibrations on smartphones.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/10/26/ibm-carnegie-mellon-university-create-open-platform-to-help-people-with-vision-disabilities-navigate-better/, October 26, 2015
Canada: Ryerson University Takes Innovative Approach to Accessibility Challenge
“How can we accelerate the dialogue on accessibility with the goal of helping to shift attitudes and change behavior?” The answer to that question is at the heart of Ryerson University’s Hack-cessibility competition, an event taking place between October 23 and November 6, that will bring together students, businesses, members of the accessibility community, entrepreneurs and policymakers to envision creative digital media solutions to accessibility challenges. Hack-cessibility is the first event as part of Ryerson’s Policy Innovation Platform, a pilot initiative designed to assist governments and non-profits by developing a new model of collaboration to solve today’s policy challenges. The platform is sponsored by Ryerson’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Ontario Government.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/10/23/ryerson-university-takes-innovative-approach-to-accessibility-challenge/, October 26, 2015
USA: Disability Law Colorado Celebrates Two Decades of Serving Persons with Disabilities
Disability Law Colorado celebrates 20 years on the Western Slope with a community celebration on Thursday, October 22 in Grand Junction. Founded in 1976, Disability Law Colorado has always served people throughout the state. “In the early years, we always hoped to have an office on the Western Slope, but it wasn’t until the mid-90s that we actually had the resources to do it,” according to Executive Director Mary Anne Harvey. On May 1, 1995, the Grand Junction office opened for business.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/10/24/changes-and-celebrations-at-disability-law-colorado/, October 26, 2015
How Do Blind People See Emojis?
On this edition of BBC's Inside Ouch: Apple has released 150 brand new emojis. The internet is becoming increasingly visual but how do blind people experience these graphics, and is digital communication becoming more inaccessible?
From http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-ouch-34615982, October 26, 2015
$20 Million Grant Powers the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure
A global effort to create a new computer ecosystem that is easily accessible to people with disabilities, senior citizens and others with special needs is set to become reality through a $20 million federal grant to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The five-year project will develop and deploy the first operational version of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) in a large-scale pilot test. This new infrastructure will be accessed via the Internet, allowing people who have difficulty using today’s technology to select and configure the assistive features and settings needed to enable their use of the information and communication systems encountered in school, work and the community. The latest grant, the first from the U.S. Department of Education’s Disability Innovation Fund, will allow Vanderheiden and his international team to build out the GPII’s automatic personalization features and put them into use in a pilot project involving up to 15,000 users.
From http://www.cloud4all.info/20-million-grant-powers-game-changing-internet-access-effort/, October 23, 2015
UN launches Global Network on Monitoring and Evaluation for Disability-Inclusive Development
The UN DESA Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (SCRPD/DSPD/DESA) has been mandated by the UN General Assembly to produce an UN flagship report assessing progress towards internationally agreed development goals, including SDGs. (UN GA resolution A/RES/69/142). A prototype report "Global Report on Disability and Development" is expected to be released by the end of 2015. The first edition of the UN flagship report on disability-inclusive implementation of the SDG is planned for 2018.
From http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1640, October 23, 2015
USA: $12.6 Million in Grants Awarded to Help Improve Outcomes of Individuals with Disabilities in Vocational Rehabilitation and Workforce Development
The U.S. Department of Education\'s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) today announced more than $12.6 million in grants in multiple project areas to help improve the outcomes of individuals with disabilities—from cradle through career. The investments are aimed at promoting inclusion, equity and opportunity for individuals with disabilities to help ensure their economic self-sufficiency, independent living and full community participation.
From http://1.usa.gov/1VNLACk, October 21, 2015