Austrailia: Government Unveils $5m Telehealth Project
A $5 million telehealth project aims to enhance delivery of mental health care in South Australia. The project, announced today, is funded by the commonwealth and the South Australian government under the US$20 million digital regions initiative. The mental health project includes more than 100 new videoconferencing units to upgrade call and image quality for more than 80 sites around the state, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said. The project aims to reduce patient travel time, enable online access to health services, connect patients with family members living far away and “deliver round the clock emergency triage and liaison services,” the department said.
From http://tikki.visibli.com/share/A7hWGh, August 24, 2012
UNESCO Request for Input on Mobile Learning Policy Guidelines
The unprecedented uptake of mobile devices, in particular mobile phones, in both developed and developing countries opens up new possibilities for increasing education access, equity and quality. Mobile learning, a growing field of ICT in education, has the potential to significantly impact the delivery of education. However, an enabling policy environment is needed to fully realize this potential. UNESCO’s research has revealed a dearth of policies related to mobile learning. To address this gap UNESCO, in broad consultation with relevant stakeholders, will develop a set of guidelines to help national government policy makers and educators create environments that enable the safe, affordable and sustainable use of mobile technologies for education.
From https://edutechdebate.org/mobile-learning-policy/unesco-request-for-input-on-mobile-learning-policy-guidelines/, August 24, 2012
Report: Disability and Poverty in Developing Countries: A Multidimensional Study
About 15% of the world population lives with some form of disability. Yet little is known about the economic lives of persons with disabilities, especially in developing countries. This paper uses for the first time internationally comparable data to draw an economic profile of persons with disabilities in 15 developing countries. In most countries, disability is found to be significantly associated with higher multidimensional poverty as well as lower educational attainment, lower employment rates, and higher medical expenditures. Among persons with disabilities, persons aged 40 and above and persons with multiple disabilities were more likely to be multi-dimensionally poor.
From http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X12001465, August 23, 2012
USA: “App Camp” Teaches Visually Impaired Youth to Use iPhones, iPads
Developers and advocates say the emergence of hundreds of apps designed for the blind, largely controlled by voice or touch, has made smartphones an invaluable tool for navigating streets and public transportation, checking the value of paper currency, or finding the right product in a store. “It seems like everybody who’s blind and hip to the tech world now carries an iPhone,” said Ken Nakata, director of accessibility consulting at HiSoftware, a provider of Web compliance products in Nashua.
From http://www.boston.com/business/technology/2012/08/18/app-camp-teaches-visually-impaired-youth-use-iphones-ipads/UlTB4WwU8QOYnqZiyL72oL/story.html, August 22, 2012
USA: For Children Who Cannot Speak, a True Voice via Technology
Enrique has Down syndrome and speech apraxia, which means that he cannot speak, aside from a few grunts and “Ma” in the word “Mama.” He was able to speak to his brother, though, with an iPad loaded with the latest version of a widely used text-to-speech application, Proloquo2Go. “The voice now matches the boy,” said John Mendez, Enrique’s father. Until recently, devices that help children like Enrique speak used modified adult voices. The effect can be startling to those listening because it doesn’t sound like a child’s voice. Most existing children’s voices sound “like adults on helium,” said David Niemeijer, chief executive and lead developer at AssistiveWare, which developed the software Enrique tested.
From www.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/technology/evolving-technology-gives-true-voices-to-children-who-cannot-speak.html, August 22, 2012
USA: Talk Therapy an Option for Those Using Assistive Technology to Speak
When asked to work with patients who don't speak, but use assistive technology to communicate, psychologist Amy Szarkowski said yes. Szarkowski, of Harvard Medical School's psychiatry department and Children's Hospital Boston, works with many clients who are deaf and hard of hearing, so she had a lot of experience overcoming communication challenges to provide therapy. "We know the communication language is not perfect, so let's work around it," she said while presenting her work at the American Psychological Association's annual convention here earlier this month.
From blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2012/08/for_those_who_dont_speak_use_a.html, August 22, 2012
USA: FEMA Urges Attention to Persons with Disabilities in Emergency Preparedness
Nearly seven years after Hurricane Katrina exposed gaping holes in emergency planning, federal officials are calling on communities to bring people with disabilities to the table as they prepare for the worst. “It is of the upmost importance that people with disabilities are actively involved from the very beginning of these processes and every step along the way,” Marcie Roth, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s director of disability integration and coordination, told a group in New Jersey this week, according to the Asbury Park Press. Roth said communities need to consider a variety of needs ranging from physical accessibility to chemical sensitivities, among other factors.
From http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2012/08/17/fema-special-needs/16276/, August 22, 2012
Hong Kong Announces Multi-billion Dollar Plan to Improve Accessibility
A multimillion-dollar plan is under way to build elevators at footbridges and pedestrian subways to help elderly people and persons with disabilities. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced the scheme yesterday after visiting the St James’ Settlement’s Central and Western District Elderly Community Centre. He said work has already started at 10 locations in Southern District, Kowloon City, Sham Shui Po, Kwai Tsing, North District, Sha Tin and Tsuen Wan. In the first year HK$100 million will be spent, and this figure will eventually reach HK$1 billion to build all the 220 sites within a time frame of three years.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/08/22/hong-kong-announces-multi-billion-dollar-plan-to-improve-accessibility/, August 22, 2012
Voice Based ICT Software and Resources
There are many options in accessing MS Windows and MAC OS computers with voice. Either voice recognition (speaking into a microphone) or text to speech (voice output) need to be carefully researched and scrutinized. Some relevant resources are listed in this document with hyperlinks to the web sites where software can be downloaded as freeware, Open source or as trial copies.
From www.spectronicsinoz.com/blog/web-links/voice-based-ict-software-and-resources/, August 22, 2012
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