posted on: March 3rd, 2011

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) has released an app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that allows users to download and read their more than 60,000 DAISY Consortium.

">DAISY books in audio. You must be an RFB&D member to use the service, and the app costs $19.99.

posted on: February 28th, 2011

Here's an evolving list of iOS VoiceOver keyboard commands, for use with a Bluetooth keyboard.

posted on: February 24th, 2011

Applications developer Marcus Nijman has developed versions of some of his games, including Chess-Wise Free and 10X10 Checkerwise Pro, to be compatible with VoiceOver. Shredder, another chess game, is also VoiceOver-compatible. This means that blind individuals can easily play these games using the VoiceOver screen reader on Apple iOS devices -- iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch..

posted on: February 16th, 2011

Apps for Children with Special Needs has a searchable index of apps, and videos of most of them.

posted on: February 16th, 2011

AppsForAAC is a new resource with information about apps for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) that provide alternative or augmentative communication.

posted on: February 6th, 2011

The National Braille Press offers an introductory book aimed at helping blind users set up and use their iPhones; Getting Started with the iPhone: An Introduction for Blind Users has been well-received by consumers on blogs and listservs.

posted on: February 1st, 2011

Netflix offers its customers "instant watching" (streaming) for some movies, but the Netflix website doesn't indicate which of them are captioned.  Now there's a blog that lists all of the Netflix movies currently with captions.

Update: now Phlixie has an index of all captioned Netflix instant-watch movies. You can search the captioned films by genre and date the title will expire.

posted on: January 31st, 2011

Although Amazon's Kindle e-reader device lets users hear the content via synthetic speech, the publisher of the materials must permit this feature for it to work.  A mid-2010 study indicates that only about half of the available books permit text-to-speech output.

posted on: January 31st, 2011

The American Printing House for the Blind is now offering "Talking Glow Dice", a gadget that will help blind and low vision users play games requiring dice.  At the press of a button, the device shows a random number from 1 to 6 in a brightly illuminated standard dice layout, and announces the number as well.

posted on: January 30th, 2011

The federal disability portal, disability.gov, has published an excellent article on the iPad's built-in accessibiltiy features.

posted on: January 30th, 2011

Purple Communications has a new Background Article on Relay.

">VRS feature, the Anywhere Contact List. This stores your contact list on their network so you can use their VRS anywhere - on your computer, iPod touch, IPhone4, or at a public location. Simply spell the name of the person listed in your contact list and the Purple video interpreter will connect you.

posted on: January 24th, 2011

Amazon has released a version of its Kindle software for the PC with some additional accessibility features:

  • Text-to-speech reading with adjustable voice settings
  • Voice-guided menu navigation
  • Large font sizes
  • High contrast reading mode
  • Keyboard navigation
  • Accessible shortcuts

Note that this is not a software mod for the Kindle device -- it's Kindle book reading software for a Windows PC.

posted on: January 12th, 2011

President Obama has signed into law the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, which will protect blind and other pedestrians from injury as a result of silent vehicle technology. Blind pedestrians listen to traffic to pick up cues that allow them to travel safely and independently. Other pedestrians, bicyclists, and runners also benefit from hearing the sound of vehicle engines, which can be very quiet or even non-existent in some new vehicles. The new law will require manufacturers to add an acceptable synthetic sound whenever the vehicle is in motion.

posted on: January 1st, 2011

"Fix the Web" lets you fill out a simple form to report web accessibility problems.  Their volunteers contact the erring website; all you have to do is report the problem.

posted on: December 30th, 2010

Google has put together a few simple, clear videos on making technology easier to use, aimed at elders but good for anyone who's not a digital whiz.  The portal page is fun and friendly.

posted on: December 23rd, 2010

AT&T is offering a new video relay app at the iPhone App Store. It works with the iPhone 4's FaceTime camera feature, and allows relay calls between a sign language user on the iPhone to communicate with anyone else via a sign language interpreter.  

posted on: December 23rd, 2010

California has a program that distributes free accessible telecommunications solutions to people with disabilities.  The products include amplifiers, TTYs, big button phones, talking CallerID, and other devices and accessories.  The program requires an application and certification.

To find similar programs in other states, visit the Telephone Equipment Distribution Program Association, TEDPA.

 

 

 

posted on: December 22nd, 2010

An iPhone app called DanKam modifies the camera's image in real time to enhance the colors in a way that makes them visible to colorblind users.

posted on: December 8th, 2010

According to a recent study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 1 in 20 children has hearing loss in one ear.

"Hearing loss in one ear can stem from congenital abnormalities in the ear, head trauma or infections such as meningitis. Children with hearing loss in one ear may go undetected because they can appear to have normal hearing. Their difficulty hearing may be mistaken simply for lack of attention or selective hearing, says Lieu, assistant professor of otolaryngology."

Hearing loss in one ear can  produce significant challenges to the children with it, as it affects their language skills.

Poverty levels and maternal education levels are also evidently well-established influences on language skills, and hearing loss in one ear may increase that effect.

 

posted on: November 30th, 2010

ReadHear is software that allows books in DAISY Consortium.

">DAISY format from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D) to be accessed from a Macintosh or Windows computer. RFB&D members can get one copy of the software at no charge.

posted on: November 25th, 2010

 

YouTube has a version with fewer, larger controls than the standard site.  called Enlargement XL. This makes it easier for people who use keyboard navigation, have trouble reading the screen controls, or have difficulty figuring out what to do next.

There's also a low vision and learning disability YouTube interface, called Simpler LD, which is very simplified and very large print.

posted on: November 22nd, 2010

Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 is a gaming system operated entirely by gestures and voice commands; no button presses are required. The system asks each user to emulate specific physical positions and sets up a user-specific profile based on the results. Because of the height and body orientation defaults for this calibration process, some wheelchair users have reported that the system does not yet work well for them. However, some users with impaired dexterity may appreciate not having to hold a controller or press buttons; there are also reports that Kinect's intuitive interface is well-suited for children with autism.

posted on: November 17th, 2010

Several Android apps are available to record information about tasks and provide timely reminders. These can be invaluable to people with congential cognitive disabilities, as well as people with acquired disabilities due to strokes or similar causes.

posted on: November 9th, 2010

Speechbubble offers interesting ways to search for the right AAC device.  Although it's based in the UK and only covers devices available there, there is a lot of overlap with the US market.

posted on: November 8th, 2010

The Livescribe electronic pen records and synchronizes the text you're writing and any audio. You can then play them back, or store them on a computer, iPad, or iPhone.  It requires special paper, which you can print on your own.  See a Livescribe video demo here from the INDATA project.

posted on: November 3rd, 2010

iPrompts is an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch application with a calendar function that allows pictures as well as text to be associated with events. It also has a count-down feature for timing activities such as washing hands or brushing teeth.  View an iPrompts demo video from the INDATA project.

posted on: November 3rd, 2010

Writing grips can make holding and using a pen or pencil easier for someone with dexterity disabilities. These devices, or variations, can also be useful with styluses, which are used as input aids with some portable hardware devices.

posted on: November 3rd, 2010

ZoomText is a popular screen magnifier program for Windows. A complementary keyboard is available with large print letters and added hotkeys for ZoomText functions. This tutorial video from the INDATA project shows an older version of the keyboard; the new keyboard has similar functionality, but uses icons instead of text for labels.

posted on: November 2nd, 2010

DAISYtoEPUB software converts files in the accessible DAISY format into a form that can be read on popular mainstream e-readers such as the iPad, Nook, standard computers, etc.

posted on: November 2nd, 2010

Inclusive Planet has a great list of 10 online text-to-speech services -- you enter text, and it is spoken right then and there.

posted on: November 1st, 2010

TidyRead is a free Firefox add-on that removes graphics, enlarges text, and allows the reader to customize background, text, and link colors.

posted on: October 24th, 2010

Apple has added a section on special education to its iTunes App Store.  We will keep you posted on what's there and how it works.

posted on: October 20th, 2010

StartTalking is a free Android app that allows text messages to be retrieved, created, and sent using voice recognition. It also automatically reads incoming messages aloud.

posted on: October 19th, 2010

Kindle for Mac software now has features that allow users to add notes, highlight passages, and search for text. These features will be particularly useful for people with visual and learning disabilities.

posted on: October 9th, 2010

The Microsoft Accessibility Website was recently redesigned.  A key goal of the website is to make it easier to find information either by product name or by type of content such as Tutorials, Guides, and Centers.The website features information about different types of assistive technology and the ability to purchase those, along with demos and tutorials on how to use the products.

posted on: October 8th, 2010

Just Free Books is a search engine that can browse 700+ websites to find free copies of books in text and audio formats.

posted on: October 6th, 2010

Camera Mouse uses an ordinary web cam to track a user's face and move the mouse pointer.  Clicking can be controlled as well.  Windows only, it works with Windows 8, 7, Vista, or up to date XP computer and a standard USB webcam (or a video camera built into a notebook computer or tablet). 

posted on: September 23rd, 2010

Version 3 of Amazon's Kindle e-reader was released in late August 2010. Larry Wagner's article talks about the accessibility of this new model to blind users, and provides some usage tips.

posted on: September 22nd, 2010

A list of online games accessible to blind people has been compiled and published by Alena Roberts of the American Printing House for the Blind.