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Human Support Robot: Toyota's Personal Assistant for People With Disabilities
Toyota recently announced a new personal robot that has been designed to be an assistant of sorts for people with disabilities, essentially helping them live more independently. The Human Support Robot (HSR) can be controlled using any tablet like device. The tablet can also be placed on top of HSR which would allow communication between the robot's owner and other people (caregivers) using Skype or other similar communication tools. HSR is capable of picking things up from the floor/atop tables/counters, opening & closing curtains, and fetching things for the owner, which may not be easy tasks for elderly or disabled people.
From http://www.assistivetechnologyblog.com/2012/09/human-support-robot-toyotas-personal.html, September 25, 2012

USA: Arizona State University Aims to Improve Access to STEM Classes for Students with Vision Disabilities
Arizona State University is kicking off a pilot program aimed at improving access to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes for students who are blind or low vision. Called 3D-IMAGINE (Image Arrays to Graphically Implement New Education), the program will use three-dimensional materials to enhance independent learning. Researchers are seeking as many program participants as possible from both ASU and the wider community.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/08/22/arizona-state-university-aims-to-improve-access-to-stem-classes-for-students-with-vision-disabilities/, September 25, 2012

USA: National Council on Disability Releases Federal Disability Policy 'State of the Union' for 2012
On Tuesday, September 18, the National Council on Disability (NCD) released its annual progress report on national disability policy. In the report, NCD assesses the state of federal disability policy in the last year and examines how emerging trends and government policies influence the quality of life of Americans with disabilities. The report notes progress where it has occurred and makes recommendations to both the executive and legislative branches where necessary.
From http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/09182012, September 18, 2012

Feature: Business May Find Disability as Important as Environmentalism
Disabled people are not just potential employees. While working at Merrill Lynch, Rich Donovan, who has cerebral palsy, looked at disabled people as an emerging market and found it much bigger than he expected: “1.1 billion people, that’s the size of China.” He noted two trends. A generation of people who had benefited from disability laws is coming out of education and into work; second, as the babyboomers age, disabilities are spreading rapidly. That means rising demand for products and services for this unprecedentedly wealthy and consumerist generation.
From http://www.economist.com/node/21562229?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/the_new_green, September 17, 2012

Canada: SOVO Launches Standards Compliance Program for Broadcasters Performing Live Closed Captioning
SOVO Technologies Inc, a supplier of turnkey services and great technology innovator in the field of closed captioning for the hearing impaired, on September 4 announces the launch of a compliance program aimed at enabling Canadian broadcasters to meet their new obligations related to French closed captioning. This initiative follows a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on February 21st to impose mandatory standards for French-language closed captioning as a condition of licence to broadcasters, notably regarding the captioning of live programs. These new obligations have taken effect on September 1st 2012.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com, September 17, 2012

China Conducts Technological Training for Persons with Disabilities
The Ruzhou Disabled Persons’ Federation has conducted four rural practical technological training courses for persons with disabilities in townships and villages since July. More than 400 persons with disabilities and their relatives attended the courses. Technicians gave detailed introductions to persons with disabilities and their relatives on scientific farming, cultivation and household appliance maintenance. They also answered questions regarding technology and provided living allowances to trainees. Persons with disabilities responded enthusiastically to the courses. They all said that the home training courses gave them access to helpful scientific technology.
From http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/m/henan/ruzhou/2012-09/17/content_15761658.htm, September 17, 2012

Apple's New Operating System Offers Greater Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities
Apple announced at a press event yesterday that the newest version of the company’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, will be available for users to download on September 19. The new iOS 6 looks to have gotten tons of new integrated features. One new feature that might be overlooked, but certainly deserves some attention, is the new Guided Access mode for iOS devices.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/09/13/apple-new-ios6-offers-more-access-for-persons-with-disabilities/, September 17, 2012

USA: Access Jobs Wins 2012 Innovation Award for DOL’s Disability Employment App Challenge
Development InfoStructure, Inc.’s (Devis) Access Jobs App wins the 2012 Innovation Award for DOL’s ODEP Disability Employment App Challenge on Challenge.gov. The Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) sponsored the Disability Employment App Challenge to seek innovative technology tools that improve employment opportunities and outcomes for people with disabilities. For the Disability Employment App Challenge, Devis uses an approach called Responsive Design. “The main goal of this is to create a single website that is device-agnostic and presents an optimized view for each user depending on the screen size and device capabilities. This is in contrast to less scalable “mobile” approaches that create separate mobile websites or mobile specific ‘apps’” says Ben Wetzel, user interface developer. “We also use ‘Zero Infrastructure Footprint (ZIF)’, an approach Devis developed for President Obama’s Veterans Job Bank initiative to minimize operational costs. ZIF leverages cloud-based search tools and smart ‘microdata tagging’ to find veteran-friendly and now disability-friendly job openings directly on an employer’s website. That’s smart government,” says Donald Oellerich, technical lead for the project. Access Jobs is designed with the goal of making both job seeking and recruitment easier. “For job seekers, we wanted to provide a simple job search engine that was accessible and usable on any Internet-enabled device. For employers, we’ve made the task of adding your job listings easier than ever, and provided additional information on how to recruit the employees you are looking for.” Stephanie McLeod, project manager.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/09/12/devis-access-jobs-wins-2012-innovation-award-for-dols-disability-employment-app-challenge-on-challenge-gov/, September 17, 2012

USA: Lexmark Launches Two Accessibility Solutions for Printers and MFPs to Users with Vision Disabilities
Lexmark International, Inc. has unveiled two features designed to provide people with vision disabilities easier access to its range of printers and multi-function printers (MFPs). By default, printers and MFPs display the status of the device on the operator panel and are configured and interacted with from that point. For a user with a vision disability, this can create significant challenges in the operation of the printer or the MFP.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/09/12/lexmark-launches-two-accessibility-solutions-for-printers-and-mfps-to-users-with-vision-disabilities/, September 17, 2012

Smart Gloves Turn Sign Language Gestures into Vocalized Speech
Giving a voice to the voiceless has been a cause that many have championed throughout history, but it’s safe to say that none of those efforts involved packing a bunch of sensors into a glove. A team of Ukrainian of students has done just that in order to translate sign language into vocalized speech via a smartphone.
From http://singularityhub.com/2012/09/16/smart-gloves-turn-sign-language-gestures-into-vocalized-speech/, September 16, 2012

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