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Stevie Wonder Calls on Negotiators to Finalize New Treaty to Improve Access to Books for Visually Impaired Persons
Music legend Stevie Wonder appealed to more than 600 negotiators from WIPO’s 186 member states to finalize their discussions in the coming days and conclude a new international treaty to ease access to books for blind, visually impaired, and other print disabled people. Stevie said he would share in the celebrations once the treaty is concluded. “Let’s get this “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (and) I’m Yours,” Stevie said to the tune of one of his biggest hits in a video statement to negotiators. ”Do this and I will come to Marrakesh and we will celebrate together.” “We stand at the cusp of a momentous time in history,” he added. “All of you – great minds representing governments around the world - have the opportunity to right a wrong. You are in the final sprint of a marathon that has spanned many years, but time is short and there is still much more work to be done to complete this historic treaty.”
From http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2013/article_0014.html, June 21, 2013

Shape of a Room 'Heard' by Acoustic Echoes
The shape of a room can be modelled using echoes produced from sound, new research has found. Like bats who emit sounds in order to navigate, researchers can now plug sounds into a computer algorithm to map a room. The team were able to build a full 3D image of a room using four microphones to record echoes bouncing off walls.
From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22941278, June 20, 2013

USA: iPad Helps Break Down Barriers for Deaf Student
A small, pilot study is examining how mobile technology might support deaf and hard-of-hearing college students when an interpreter can’t be present at the time the services are requested. The first phase of the University of Cincinnati research project involved a college student taking a course in a large, auditorium-style classroom. The student used an iPad to gain the services of an interpreter, who was also using an iPad, in a different location.
From http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2013/06/17/deaf-technology-ipad.html, June 20, 2013

Lessons from Bogotá: Three Keys to Ensure Access for the Disabled
Colombia has both signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD is an international human rights treaty created “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.” Today around 15% of the global population lives with some form of disability.
From http://www.microsoft.com/government/ww/public-services/blog/Pages/post.aspx?postID=324&aID=102, June 20, 2013

FCC Clarifying Rules for IP-Video Captions
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) in the Matter of Closed Captioning of Internet Protocol-Delivered Video Programming: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 [MB Docket No. 11-154]. The Order on Reconsideration addresses concerns from stakeholders, including the Consumer Electronics Association, TVGuardian, and consumer groups, concerning the rules for the captioning of IP-delivered video programming for certain apparatus.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.org/content/newsroom/fcc-clarifying-rules-ip-video-captions?sthash.R65LuPGB.mjjo, June 20, 2013

Draft BBC Mobile Accessibility Standards and Guidelines
For years BBC teams have used the BBC Accessibility Guidelines to help them build accessible websites. This has proved a useful foundation for mobile accessibility however, we felt we needed something more targeted for device delivery and native applications. There are differences between desktop only versus mobile web and application accessibility. Take for example color contrast. On the desktop web it is widely accepted that a contrast level of 4.5:1 is acceptable. On the mobile web, where users are on the move in changing light conditions dealing with variable levels of glare, it's questionable whether 4.5:1 is enough, so perhaps we should be aiming for something closer to 7:1.
From http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/posts/Accessibility-Mobile-Apps, June 18, 2013

USA: MIT Scientist Designs Wearable Tactile Displays for People with Vision and Hearing Disabilities
Lynette Jones, a senior research scientist in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, designs wearable tactile displays. Through her work, she’s observed that the skin is a sensitive — though largely untapped — medium for communication. Think of it as tactile Morse code: vibrations from a wearable, GPS-linked device that tell you to turn right or left, or stop, depending on the pattern of pulses you feel. Such a device could free drivers from having to look at maps, and could also serve as a tactile guide for people with vision and hearing disabilities.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2013/06/17/mit-scientist-designs-wearable-tactile-displays-for-people-with-vision-and-hearing-disabilities/, June 18, 2013

UN: Participation of Civil Society Organizations in the September 23 High Level Meeting on Disability and Development
General Assembly resolution 66/124 invites the President of the General Assembly to draw up a list of representatives of non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council who will participate in the HLMD (paragraph 6), as well as a list of representatives of other non-governmental organizations, organizations of persons with disabilities, relevant civil society organizations and the private sector who may participate in the high-level meeting.
From http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1590#participation, June 18, 2013

Geneva: Negotiators Set to Finalize New Treaty Improving Access to Books for Visually Impaired Persons
Hundreds of negotiators representing countries around the world will gather later this month to work on finalizing a new international treaty to ease access to books for blind, visually impaired, and other print disabled people. Between June 18-28, 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will convene the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, which will be hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco at the Palais des Congres in Marrakesh.
From http://www.ag-ip-news.com/news.aspx?id=29776&lang=en, June 18, 2013

UK: Awareness of Audio Description on TV Almost Doubles in Five Years
When audio description is switched on, the viewer can hear a narrator describe on-screen action, body language and facial expressions for the benefit of people with visual impairments. Audio description, which is fitted in between dialogue, is available on 10% to 20% of programming on 70 TV channels in the UK. Most modern television receivers and set top boxes now enable audio description, but research carried out in 2008 found that only 37% of adults were aware of the service.
From http://www.abilitymagazine.org.uk/Articles/Article-279-3.aspx, June 17, 2013

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