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Australia: Accessibility in Social Media
For some time we’ve been talking about Accessibility in Social Media and have provided lots of tips on how to make the Government’s use of Social Media more accessible for people who may be using adaptive strategies or assistive technologies. To add to the growing compendium of advice in this area, the US Government recently released some tips on Improving the Accessibility of Social media in Government, a series of ‘How to’ guides. It includes great information and smart tips for making Facebook and Twitter posts as well as YouTube videos more accessible.
From http://agimo.gov.au/2013/03/21/accessibility-in-social-media/, March 26, 2013

PEOPLECERT Group Launches Global Hotel Accessibility Certification Scheme
Accessibility Pass is a global hotel certification scheme that classifies hotels’ accessibility level based on their infrastructure, services and personnel skills. The scheme is the only global scheme that offers uniform assessment and classification while taking into consideration current national accessibility requirements. It is applicable to Hotels of any size, category and type and to Conference Centers. The Scheme verifies that a hotel or a conference center offers people with disabilities an equal service experience as to any other client. It does not guarantee the overall quality of services offered.
From http://www.accessibilitypass.org/en/Pages/AccessibilityPass.aspx, March 25, 2013

Government of Canada Supports Assistive Technology Development in Ottawa
The Honourable Gordon O’Connor, Member of Parliament for Carleton – Mississippi Mills, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), today announced Government of Canada investments of up to $3.67 million to support sixstart-up technology development companies in the Ottawa area. “Our government continues to support the drivers of growth and job creation – innovation, investment, education, skills and communities,” said Minister O’Connor. “Investments like the ones announced today will help start-up businesses increase their international market share and create jobs in the Ottawa area.”
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/03/21/government-of-canada-supports-assistive-technology-development-in-ottawa/, March 25, 2013

Internet Technology to Make it More Accessible for the Disabled
WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative- Accessible Rich Internet Applications), are planning to make life on the internet significantly easier for the able body challenged! As it currently stands, it is very difficult to negotiate a web site if you can’t use a mouse and limited to keyboard operations. Imagine that for a moment, remove your mouse and use the keyboard only. Not much fun I can assure you, and darn frustrating. The able bodied don’t think about this much, unless of course you’re involved in the industry of helping those who need support in this area. Also, imagine how difficult it would be to create web content if you were limited to a screen reader. Even the able bodied use them to enable multitasking! But, they’re fairly limiting. Imagine having to tab through every single option on a website, before you get to the one at the bottom of the page. We able bodied use a mouse to maneuver this. Imagine trying to drag and drop without the use of a mouse.
From http://guardianlv.com/2013/03/internet-technology-to-make-it-more-accessible-for-the-disabled/, March 25, 2013

Robot Helps Teach Kids with Autism
Researchers have helped create apps and online platforms to assist children with autism. But one team at Vanderbilt University is introducing something which may have a leg up on capturing kids' attention: humanoid robots. Mechanical engineers and autism experts constructed an adaptive system using NAO, a fully-programmable robot. Paired with cameras, sensors and computers, the friendly robot is designed to help children develop basic social learning skills.
From http://mashable.com/2013/03/21/robot-autism/, March 22, 2013

22nd Regular Session Human Rights Council: Work and Employment of Persons with Disabilities
Votes on Draft Resolutions under Agenda Item:3 - Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. The work and employment of persons with disabilities
From http://webtv.un.org/search/ahrc22l.4-vote-item:3-47th-meeting-22nd-regular-session-human-rights-council/2241796596001?term=human+rights+council&sort=date, March 22, 2013

Microsoft Demos Improvements to Bing Voice Recognition for Windows Phone
"Nothing says fun like a speech demo." Those are the words of Microsoft's CTSO Eric Rudder, not ours -- although we do have to agree. As you'll see for yourself in the video after the break, Microsoft held a private event for its employees a few weeks ago showcasing some of the advancements it's achieved with Bing's voice search for Windows Phone. Thanks to the work of MS' Research arm and the folks at Advanced Technology Group, voice recognition accuracy on a prototype build has now been improved by up to 15-percent on the back end and should even see a further 10- to 15-percent performance boost. In addition to this decreased error rate, the team's also greatly enhanced the speed at which the app delivers relevant results. So when can you expect this new and improved Bing app for WP? That part's unclear, but it appears Microsoft's already implementing changes on the back end to bolster current use.
From http://www.engadget.com/2013/03/21/microsoft-prototype-bing-app-for-windows-phone/, March 22, 2013

Overcoming Audio Description's Technical Hurdles
Following the 2012 trial on ABC1, Media Access Australia has compiled a briefing paper outlining how Australia’s television industry can overcome the technical challenges of broadcasting audio description (AD). Below are some of the potential hurdles that have been presented and our explanation of how they can be overcome.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/general/overcoming-audio-description%E2%80%99s-technical-hurdles, March 22, 2013

Robot Technology helps Blind People to Navigate Indoor and Outdoor Spaces Independently
Robots need help navigating their surroundings and sophisticated location systems keep track of their position. Now, the same technologies are being adapted to help people who are blind navigate indoor and outdoor spaces independently. One such system, being developed by Edwige Pissaloux and colleagues at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France, consists of a pair of glasses equipped with cameras and sensors like those used in robot exploration.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/03/22/robot-technology-helps-blind-people-to-navigate-indoor-and-outdoor-spaces-independently/, March 22, 2013

Study: 78% of Web Users Aged 55+ Say Their Life has Improved by Being Online
New online research from Age UK shows that nearly four out of five (78%) older people who use the internet believe their lives have improved by being online, with nearly one in four (23%) saying they feel closer to friends and family as a result and 42% declaring that they now cannot imagine life without the internet. Carried out by YouGov on behalf of Age UK, the online poll also revealed just how the lives of web users aged 55+ have been transformed: 44% have made savings online, nearly one in three (32%) pursue hobbies and one in five (19%) feel like they are more independent as a result of being online.
From http://www.economicvoice.com/life-online-is-great-say-older-web-users/50035740#ixzz2OGojCEFC, March 22, 2013

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