Australia: Trials of iPads as Assistive Technologies
Through funding support provided by Telstra Australia we have been undertaking research into the efficacy of mainstream devices such as iPads as assistive technologies over the last few months. The aim of the research is to provide empirical evidence of the impact of the use of such mainstream technologies on the attainment of the participation goals of 10 adults with varying physical disabilities and communication needs.
From http://denisewood.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/trials-of-ipads-as-assistive-technologies/, February 26, 2013
iPhone Maps for the Blind, Using Haptic Tech
Imagine an urban route you know well--extremely well. It’s the kind of comfortable path you walk from your front door to the bus stop five days a week, or the shortcut you follow to your favorite coffee shop. After your first step, it’s like muscle memory kicks in and your body just takes you there without thinking. You feel like could do it with your eyes closed. Could you? Navigation becomes infinitely more complex when sight is no longer an option, and even more so when unknown territory is being explored.
From http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671924/iphone-maps-for-the-blind-using-haptic-tech, February 25, 2013
RIM Changes its Name to BlackBerry
The company formerly known as Research in Motion on Wednesday announced that it had formally changed its name to BlackBerry, the longtime brand name of its famous mobile devices. More importantly, the company announced its first new smartphones in more than a year: The BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10.
From http://bgr.com/2013/01/30/rblackberry-z10-q10-announce-311920/, February 25, 2013
TCF launches 1st Global Telecentre Awards
Telecentre.org Foundation and Spark (the 4th Global Forum on Telecentres) organizers, in cooperation with the regional telecentre networks, are proud to announce the launch of first ever Global Telecentre Awards (GTA)! The Awards seek to recognize and celebrate the best players in the international telecentre arena, and encourage them to continue raising the bar of excellence in the delivery of ICT-based services to the communities.
From http://community.telecentre.org/profiles/blogs/tcf-launches-1st-global-telecentre-awards, February 25, 2013
How Browsers Interact with Screen Readers and where ARIA Fits in the Mix
The differing behaviors of screen readers across various browsers are noticed all the time by screen reader users, and differing levels of ARIA support are noticed in a similar manner, but the reasons why this happens aren’t commonly understood by the majority of people. For example, the most widely used screen reader, JAWS, is hard coded to work best in Internet Explorer. The second most widely used screen reader, NVDA, is hard coded to work best in Firefox. This includes ARIA support.
From https://www.ssbbartgroup.com/blog/2013/01/02/how-browsers-interact-with-screen-readers-and-where-aria-fits-in-the-mix/, February 21, 2013
USA: Legislation Mandates Accessible Learning Technology
U.S. Representative George Miller (CA), the ranking Democrat in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced a new education bill: The Transforming Education through Technology Act [H.R. 521]. The bill proposes that Congress fund educational grants to be distributed to states and districts totaling $500 million.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.org/content/newsroom/legislation-mandates-accessible-learning-technology, February 21, 2013
Google Shows Off Glass in New Video, Puts Out Call for New Buyers
Google has launched a new program called If I Had Glass, which is designed to reach a new Google Glass demographic. For the first time, the company has posted a video (below) that shows off what the interface within the Glass system looks like. Those familiar with the Android operating system will instantly recognize the slick, translucent pane aesthetic, which allows the Glass user to take photos, shoot video, send audio messages, view maps, use voice search, and get directions with real-time graphic overlays.
From http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2415620,00.asp, February 20, 2013
USA: FCC's First Technology Transitions Policy Task Force Workshop in March 2013
The first FCC Technology Transitions Policy Task Force workshop will be held on Monday, March 18, 2013. The Task Force was formed to recommend policies that “empower and protect consumers, promote competition, and ensure network resiliency and reliability.” The workshop will focus on transitions to new technologies including: the advancement of network protocols; the implementation of fiber networks replacing copper; and the increased use of wireless in place of wireline services.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.org/content/newsroom/first-technology-transitions-policy-task-force-workshop-march, February 19, 2013
EU: Putting Accessibility at the Heart of e-Government
Public administrations across Europe are making the leap from government to e-government, but citizens will only reap the rewards of being able to access more services online if they are efficient, accessible and easy to use. A new user-centric web-based platform, developed by EU-funded researchers, promises to bring down the barriers to accessing e-government services.
From http://cordis.europa.eu/fetch?CALLER=OFFR_TM_EN&ACTION=D&RCN=9871, February 18, 2013
UNWTO and Italy Advance Accessibility in Tourism
Ensuring that tourism facilities and sites meet the needs of persons with disabilities, both as a key means of promoting tourism for all and as an engine for market growth, were the main focus of the International Conference on "Accessibility in tourism: an ethical value, a business opportunity" (14 February 2013, BIT Milan, Italy).
The event, organized by the Permanent Secretariat of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics hosted by the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers at the Office for Tourism Policies of the Department of Regional Affairs, Tourism and Sport in Rome, was held with the support of UNWTO and constitutes another significant step in the Organization’s endeavors in the area of accessibility. Participants included representatives from hotels, tourism companies, disabled persons organizations and students from three higher tourism education centres in Italy.
From http://www2.unwto.org/en/press-release/2013-02-18/unwto-and-italy-advance-accessibility-tourism, February 18, 2013