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Emergence of Siri Personal Voice Assistant Trains Focus on Speech Recognition Apps
The emergence of the Siri personal voice assistant on Apple’s iPhone has brought a rush of interest to the area of speech recognition and natural language technology, and one beneficiary of that has been Ginger Software, a developer of speech technology that is today announcing a round of $5.4 million, $5 million of which will come from from two big-name backers, Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures and Harbor Pacific Capital.
From http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/22/money-talks-ginger-software-raises-another-5-4m-led-by-horizon-harbor-pacific-for-speech-technology-apps/, August 22, 2012

USA: FCC Releases Eighth Broadband Progress Report
The nation has made significant progress expanding high-speed Internet access in recent years, but further implementation of major reforms newly adopted by the Federal Communications Commission is required before broadband will be available to the approximately 19 million Americans who still lack access, according to the FCC’s Eighth Broadband Progress Report.
From http://www.fcc.gov/reports/eighth-broadband-progress-report, August 22, 2012

NISO and DAISY Consortium Publish Authoring & Interchange Framework Standard
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the DAISY Consortium announce the publication of the new American National Standard Authoring and Interchange Framework (ANSI/NISO Z39.98-2012). The standard defines how to represent digital information using XML to produce documents suitable for transformation into different universally accessible formats. The standard is a revision, extension, and enhancement of Specifications for the Digital Talking Book (DTB), commonly referred to as the DAISY standard (ANSI/NISOZ39.86-2005(R2012)). The DAISY Consortium is the Maintenance Agency for both standards.
From http://www.stc-access.org/?p=2553, August 21, 2012

UK: How Technology Helps the Elderly Stay Independent
As the population ages - an increasing number of elderly people will need care. Most people are resistant to the idea of going into a care home and would prefer to remain independent in their own house. Lara Lewington looks at how the latest technology can help elderly people enjoy their own home comforts for longer.
From http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/9745189.stm, August 21, 2012

Mobile Health: Using an App as Prescribed
The idea of medically prescribed apps excites some people in the health care industry, who see them as a starting point for even more sophisticated applications that might otherwise never be built. But first, a range of issues — around vetting, paying for and monitoring the proper use of such apps — needs to be worked out. Smartphone apps already fill the roles of television remotes, bike speedometers and flashlights. Soon they may also act as medical devices, helping patients monitor their heart rate or manage their diabetes, and be paid for by insurance.
From http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/technology/coming-next-doctors-prescribing-apps-to-patients.html, August 21, 2012

Congress of the Philippines: Persons with Disabilities to Get VAT Exemption
A lawmaker today urged Congress to fast track the approval of a bill exempting persons with disabilities from paying value added tax (VAT) on medicine, transportation, hotels, restaurants, theaters and other business establishments.
From http://tinyurl.com/d9erzyn, August 21, 2012

Digital Books Beneficial for Blind People
Digital books may not be for everyone. But for blind people, they're a true revolution. Historically, only a tiny proportion of published books have made it into braille. But now technology means no book is off limits.
From http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/17/peter-white-books-braille-ereaders?CMP=twt_gu, August 18, 2012

Digital Bracelet Detects if Medical Staff Need to Wash Their Hands
sraeli startup company Hyginex has developed a simple system to reduce healthcare risks around hospitals and medical practices. The company has created digital bracelets that work alongside sensor-embedded soap dispensers to detect if the user has washed their hands properly. The non-intrusive bracelet has a tiny red LED light to also remind the medical practitioner to wash their hands between patients.
From http://mashable.com/2012/08/17/digital-medical-bracelet/, August 18, 2012

Start-ups Eager to Get Mobile Medical Devices to Market
Start-ups ventures bullish on the potential of mobile medical devices are flooding the test market with innovations that redefine the concept of home healthcare. As the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week, there's the prosthetic leg from Orthocare Innovations that utilizes a cell phone app to adjust the heel height for wear with different shoes. It adjusts automatically when the user walks on an incline.
From http://www.fiercemobilehealthcare.com/story/startups-eager-get-mobile-medical-devices-market/2012-08-17, August 18, 2012

Airline iPad Policy Sparks Disability Dispute
American Airlines is taking heat for requiring a teen who is nonverbal to stow the iPad she relies on to communicate during a recent flight. Carly Fleischmann, a 17-year-old with autism from Toronto, lambasted American Airlines on her Facebook page earlier this week for limiting access to the iPad she uses to speak. On her way home from Los Angeles last Friday, Fleischmann said that a flight attendant told her to put away the tablet for takeoff and landing and was unwilling to bend even after Fleischmann’s aide explained that it was a communication device.
From http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/08/16/airline-ipad-dispute/16266/, August 18, 2012

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