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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

WeCo Puts a Human Face on Testing for Website Accessibility
WeCo responds to the shift, from automatic checkers to people with disabilities, in the web accessibility marketplace by hiring additional Testers. WeCo uses user-experienced testers to ensure the website is accessible to the real-life end user.
From http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10488197.htm, March 19, 2013

Voice Activated Remote Gives a Woman the Ability to Control the TV Again
Using your voice to control the world around you is becoming more and more prevalent every day. Who hasn’t heard of Dragon Naturally Speaking to control the computer and then there is always Siri on Apple devices to send emails, setup reminders or check the weather. There are also assistive technology devices that allow you to control your TV, DVD, Radio, or even lights and fans, all with just your voice.
From http://ndipat.org/blog/voice-activated-remote-gives-a-woman-the-ability-to-control-the-tv-again/, March 19, 2013

USA: FCC Wants Text Crawls to Include Sound by 2015
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is circulating a proposed order among commissioners that would give broadcasters and cable operators two years to convert emergency text crawls into audio for the blind and sight-impaired. The order would not initially apply to Internet video delivery, which is being treated as a separate issue. Along with the order comes a Notice of Proposed Further Rulemaking that focuses on how the audio requirement should apply to IP-delivered services or to the migration of programming to mobile-oriented TV Everywhere platforms.
From http://broadcastengineering.com/psipeasipaws/fcc-wants-text-crawls-include-sound-2015, March 19, 2013

Making Technology Accessible for Students with Disabilities
Technology can be a wonderful resource for students with disabilities, but it also comes with its challenges. Some students use forms of technology called assistive or adaptive technology. Assistive technology is software or hardware that helps students with disabilities do something that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. For example, students who are blind or low vision may use assistive technology like screen reading or screen magnifying programs to allow them to access information presented on their computer. Screen readers and screen magnifiers allow students who are blind or low vision to do things like read documents, emails, and webpages. Unfortunately, use of assistive technology does not guarantee that the student will be able to access the information. Challenges arise when certain forms of technology are not created with accessibility in mind. For instance, when words are provided on an image, like on the banner at the top of this page, a screen reader cannot read the words from the image. The individual inserting the image must have accessibility in mind and provide alternative text so that an individual using a screen reader will have access to the information provided on the image.
From http://louisville.edu/disability/faculty-staff/making_technology_accessible.html, March 19, 2013

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