June 10th, 2014

Congrats to the winners of the FCC’s third annual Awards for  Advancement in Accessibility, which recognizes  outstanding private and public sector ventures in communications technology accessibility and innovation. Here are a few of the winners:

YouDescribe, developed by the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, is a website and application protocol  interface (API) for creating and playing crowd-sourced, synchronized video descriptions of YouTube videos.

Texas Multi-Agency Office 2010 Training Collaboration "Creating Accessible Microsoft Office 2010 Documents" developed by the Texas Multi-Agency Office 2010  Training Collaboration, and hosted by the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities, is a free,  Web-based set of accessible training modules offering step-by-step instructions for creating captioned videos,  MP-3 voice recordings and transcripts in Word and PDF formats. The collaborative effort takes advantage of  social media and low-cost technology to teach accessible design of popular electronic document formats in the  workplace.

Easy Chirp, developed by Dennis Lembree, is a free Web app that facilitates communicating via Twitter and is  optimized for users with disabilities. Optimization examples include: proper coding for screen reader use by  people who are blind, high contrast; large text and zoom support for people with low vision; and other aspects to  better enable access by people with motor and cognitive disabilities. Most recently, Easy Chirp added a feature  which provides a method to tweet an image with alternative text.

May 12th, 2014

Georgia's Tools for Life program presented "AT Strategies and Solutions for Aging Well" in March 2014. The audio and pdf archive are now available.

May 1st, 2014
A recently released study by the Pew Research Internet Project shows that seniors with disabilities are about 15% less likely to go online, have broadband at home, or own an advanced digital device. They may be skeptical of the advantages of online resources.
An important finding is that a large majority of those who are not yet online say that they will not explore it on their own, but want some assistance. As reported in the Raising the Floor newsletter, "This "social adoption" model may inspire new approaches to nurturing online adoption via positive interactions with peers, friends, familiar community institutions and families."
May 1st, 2014
Thotra, a new startup spun off from the University of Toronto, is preparing to release a system that processes hard-to-understand speech, such as strong accents, stuttering, and the effects of some forms of cerebral palsy. The system analyzes the stream of speech similar to how speech recognition is performed, identifies specific artifacts that make the speech hard to understand, and provides some remediation before sending the speech stream on to the listener.  It is a mobile technology with a cloud based platform available for individuals, speech therapists, language instructors and can be embedded for enterprise use.
April 30th, 2014

Made-for-iPhone hearing aids come with a host of new features, including location specific adjustments, a "live microphone" feature that is good in noisy places, and spoken output from the iPhone delivered directly to the hearing aid. See a description at Re/Code.