posted on: July 1st, 2011

Doremi CaptiView is a small 3-line electronic caption display for movie theatres. It can be inserted into your seat's beverage holder, and receives the captions wirelessly. Since the captions are displayed without the need to adjust to a rear-projector, users may have greater seating choices and viewing ease. You'll need to check if CaptiView is available in a theatre near you.

Deaf Tech News has a review and a video of CaptiView in action.

posted on: June 24th, 2011

AppAdvice, a mainstream website that covers the app world, now has a page of reviews and recommendations for blind and low vision users, including games, image recognition utilities, and productivity tools that are compatible with the iOS VoiceOver screen reader.

posted on: June 23rd, 2011

Although the iPad's built-in Contacts manager is compatible with the built-in Zoom feature, it's not optimal -- the screen layout is hard to use, and color and contrast options weren't as powerful as they could have been. Now users can download ZoomContacts for $4.99, and get a specially-formatted version -- using the same database -- with full color and high contrast.

posted on: June 21st, 2011

We know that many people do not use technology because they lack confidence in their ability to run computers, launch applications, operate a mouse, etc. Presto Printing Mailbox offers a solution, at least for receiving email: a printer that receives and prints email messages by itself. The system's server accepts email from only registered senders such as family members, so there's no spam. It re-formats emails to be attractive and easy to read, and prints attached images. There's no way to reply, and no large print option, but this may be a way for a technology-averse person to get started.

posted on: June 16th, 2011

StayOnTask is a free Android app that is designed to help you focus on a task instead of 'goofing off'. It checks in on you at random, so you can't just 'beat the clock' as you can with similar productivity aids.

posted on: June 7th, 2011

The World Blind Union has released a toolkit on audio description: what it is, how it works, and how to do it. Written for non-technical people, the toolkit offers both basic background and plenty of guidance on how to add audio description to videos you are producing.

posted on: May 31st, 2011

The free Miriam Webster Dictionary HD app allows users to speak the word they want to bring up the correct spelling and definition; this will be particularly beneficial to individuals who have learning disabilities that affect spelling. The app also includes features such as audio pronunciations and a history of previously looked-up words.

posted on: May 28th, 2011

Sprint has put together a collection of apps, called the Relay ID Pack, specifically for their deaf and hard of hearing wireless customers.

The Relay ID Pack requires just one single download, contains:

  • AIM Instant Messenger, which allows access to telephone relay services
  • Calendar Notifier for visual reminders of upcoming events
  • to look for captioned movies in the area
  • GMail Notifier for notifications of emails through GMail
  • Google Voice for transcriptions of voicemails
  • Handcent SMS for notifications of texts
  • Sprint Mobile Video Relay Services for sign language relay
  • TuneWiki for song lyrics
  • VideoPlayer

The Relay ID Pack is compatible with the following phones:

  • LG Optimus S
  • Samsung Epic 4G
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab
  • Samsung Transform
  • Sanyo Zio
posted on: May 25th, 2011

We know that institutionalization costs a lot of money, and most people want to live independently whenever it's possible. Ohio Medicaid has just begun funding remote monitoring technology services that will enable cognitively disabled people to live in the community. The audio, video, sensor, and communication technologies will be implemented to permit some oversight without invading the resident's privacy.

posted on: May 25th, 2011

Blind and low vision consumers have trouble using cable and satellite TV services because the channel guides and program information are only available on screen, which is controlled by a set-top box usually provided by the cable or satellite company. Here's a video that demonstrates a talking set-top box; versions similar to it will be available in the US in the next few years.

posted on: May 20th, 2011

Google Calendar is a popular way to handle appointments across individuals and groups, but it is not very accessible or compatible with screen readers and magnifiers. Povidi now offers My Accessible Google, a service that takes your calendar information and outputs it in a screen-reader-friendly format.

posted on: May 16th, 2011

By downloading a free app, Netflix - with expanded closed captioned availability - is now available on the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

Here's how to find out which Netflix streaming movies have captioning.

posted on: May 12th, 2011

The Attainment Company now offers an inexpensive app for iOS devices that lets you control a PC or Mac: the Attainment Switch. The iOS device can simulate one- or two-switch setups, and uses a wifi connection to the computer.

posted on: May 12th, 2011

FastMall for IOS and Android lets you download mall maps with details on stores, restrooms, elevators/escalators, etc. This is not an Internet or GPS app, but it does some pretty cool stuff such as give you directions to a particular store 3 different ways, is sort of compatible with VoiceOver (see the AppleVis review), and they feature the disability implications on their home page.

posted on: May 8th, 2011

The latest version of the Firefox browser has a new way to zoom: text-only. This lets you magnify the text but not the images or other non-text content, for easier reading and more screen space. To turn this on, go to the 'View' menu, select 'Zoom' ... 'Zoom Text Only' (ALT-V, Z, T). Then use the Zoom controls as usual (CTRL-+ and -), and only the text will change size.

posted on: April 27th, 2011

ClearCaptions is a new telephone and computer captioning service by Purple Communications.

The intent of this service is to provide captioning to hearing-impaired/deaf users, utilizing equipment with "nothing to buy and no service costs." Users don't need special equipment, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules allow ClearCaptions to offer this service to qualified users for free.

posted on: April 26th, 2011

The Gizmo's Freeware website has two lists of websites that legally offer free books in alternative formats. One covers free audio books, the other covers free books in electronic text formats, many of which may be converted from text to speech.

posted on: April 25th, 2011

Geely, a Chinese company, is developing a car that comes with a scooter for people who need transportation assistance once they reach their destination. The scooter can travel 18 miles before needing to be recharged, or can be replaced by a wheelchair.

posted on: April 20th, 2011

Stwutter is an app that will automatically read items from the user's Twitter feed aloud as they are received. It also includes voice commands for re-reading a tweet, finding out who sent it, and opening a link mentioned in the tweet.

posted on: April 19th, 2011

Stem Stumper is an iOS game intended to be fully playable by blind individuals. The game works with VoiceOver; an audio-only "sonar" mode is also available.

Papa Sangre is an adventure game with no video at all -- all the cues and actions are in the amazing 3D stereo sound track. The Nightjar, another non-video game created by the same company, is on its way to blind gamers.

posted on: April 18th, 2011

Franklin offers the AnyBook Reader, a large pen-shaped device that lets you record some speech and associate that speech with a sticker. You can place the sticker anywhere. When you scan the sticker with the Reader, it plays the recorded speech. The original idea behind this gadget is for parents to record favorite storybooks one page at a time, place the right sticker on the right page, and let the child hear Mommy or Daddy read the story any time. And that's a great enough idea!

But AnyBook Reader could be used to create a communication aid, behavioral cues, and any kind of learning tool where there's an association between a spoken word and an object or piece of text.

Price is about $60. The stickers (you get 400) can be re-used.

posted on: April 14th, 2011

The Accessible Digital Office Document (ADOD) Project at the Inclusive Design Research Centre has developed some excellent guidance materials on how to make sure your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. are as accessible as possible. Applications covered include those from Microsoft, Corel, Google, Adobe, and iWork, and the content was publicly vetted and improved.

posted on: April 13th, 2011

The Equal Rights Center has a gallery of photos all of which have something wrong about accessibility -- look at the photo and think about it, then click on it to get the right answer. It's a game and a learning experience!

posted on: April 13th, 2011

People often confuse hearing aids with the mass market amplifiers sold on TV and elsewhere. The FDA has stepped in with an informative article that will help you understand the difference.

posted on: April 11th, 2011

Pointing Magnifier is a free Windows utility that makes mouse clicking easier. It displays a large, round pointer; when the user clicks any button, the area under the pointer is magnified. The user then moves the standard mouse pointer to make their selection. Pointing Magnifier is designed to help people with dexterity disabilities, but might also be useful as a "spot" magnifier for people with low vision.

posted on: April 6th, 2011

From the QIAT listserv:

Patrick Black has put together a great online presentation about how special educators and therapists can use Google Docs to communicate with parents, creating a log history of the communication, and giving parents a way to respond, ask questions, etc.  The presentation includes tips and tricks as well as a pointer to the special template he created for this purpose.

posted on: April 1st, 2011

Many online music sites require mouse use for play control. Now Factotum for Mac OS X adds keyboard controls to the most popular sites.

posted on: March 31st, 2011

iPossibilities is a collection of iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch apps useful in special education, in the form of a slideshow.

posted on: March 29th, 2011

Androidzoom is a snazzy new site with an up-to-date collection of Android apps for deaf and hard of hearing users, for functions like chat, sign language learning, and Background Article on Relay.


posted on: March 29th, 2011

Zediva is a new online movie rental service for new movie releases. Closed captioning, if available on the DVD, is automatically supported in their streaming.

There is a currently a wait-list to become a member.

posted on: March 29th, 2011

Phone Scoop has a new Phone Finder - in which you can plug in your preferred features and come up with a short list of phone to consider. Helpful for those looking for specific features related to hearing loss/deafness.

posted on: March 25th, 2011

The National Federation of the Blind, as part of its lawsuit about the accessibility of Google applications, has produced some excellent short videos that demonstrate the various inaccessible features of Gmail, Google Docs, etc. These videos would be useful for training and awareness -- they make the barriers concrete and easy to understand.

posted on: March 24th, 2011

Access Wireless is an industry-sponsored information resource on accessible wireless phones. It lets you search by disability category and feature, and helps you find phones that have the features you need, from the manufacturer or service provider you prefer.

posted on: March 23rd, 2011

A Google-sponsored site called "Teach Parents Tech" has dozens of videos covering computer basics for web and email, including how to make the text in your browser larger or smaller. The videos are simple and engaging, perfect for technophobes or those with difficulty understanding complex content.

posted on: March 23rd, 2011

A Dutch company called Visio is releasing a Wii game accessible to blind and low-vision players. "The Explorer and the Mystery of the Diamond Scarab" provides step-by-step audio guidance in English or Dutch.

posted on: March 23rd, 2011

Ablenet has a variety of switch-adapted toys. Various types of switches can be plugged in, allowing children who cannot interact with standard toys to turn them on and off. The product line now include toys likely to also be owned by non-disabled peers, such as a Woody doll from Toy Story and two Zhu Zhu hamsters.

posted on: March 21st, 2011

Readable is a bookmarklet you can add to any browser to re-format pages for easier reading -- alter the font, size, colors, etc. to match your needs.

posted on: March 18th, 2011

The original iPad includes some powerful accessibility features. Now the iPad 2 adds some more: front- and rear-facing cameras, making the device perfect for video sign language communication (direct or VRS) and even augmented reality for aiding navigation.