posted on: September 22nd, 2010

The latest version of Twitter has keyboard shortcuts, including commands for "reply", "retweet," and navigating a Twitter page.

posted on: September 20th, 2010

The More Keyboard has a standard key layout, but with larger keys and large print labeling. The keyboard also has legs at all four corners, each of which can be independently adjusted to one of three heights.

posted on: September 19th, 2010

The Nintendo Wii game system has a powerful remote controller called the Wiimote.  It's pretty demanding, physically, but CATEA at Georgia Tech has developed some interesting Wiimote modifications that you can build yourself.

posted on: September 17th, 2010

From AccessTechNews:

Version 4.1 of the iOS operating system for Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch has an improved VoiceOver screen reader, with more keyboard commands.

posted on: September 15th, 2010

O'Reilly, a major publisher of books about programming and other computer-related topics, is now making electronic copies of its publications available in the accessible DAISY Consortium.

">DAISY format. If you buy an O'Reilly title you can download the DAISY version at no extra charge.  A mobile device version is also available.

posted on: September 15th, 2010

The Chrome browser from Google offers extensions you can install to enhance accessibility. Here are just a small sampling:

posted on: September 15th, 2010

The University of Washington is testing its Mobile ASL software that reduces the amount of bandwidth necessary for sign language video chat for deaf users. This software will run on any phone with a front-facing camera.

posted on: September 14th, 2010

Assistiveware has released an update to its Proloquo2Go product for iOS devices, including the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Proloquo2Go assists persons with disabilities which impact their ability to communicate by offering an easy-to-use symbol-based interface to enter concepts and output speech.

Improvements in version 1.4 include:

  • Added vocabulary backup with iTunes' File Sharing using the dock connector cable (available for iOS 3.2 and higher).
  • Added updated, higher quality voices.
  • Optimized all artwork, including all 7000+ symbols, for retina displays.
  • Conversion of text to symbols several times faster.
  • Uploading of a vocabulary from computer to Proloquo2Go over Wi-Fi significantly faster.
  • Enhanced stability on iPad and iOS 4 devices.
  • Over 30 other improvements, bug fixes and performance enhancements.
posted on: September 12th, 2010

Apple has updated its iOS mobile operating system for iPhone and iPod touch devices to version 4.1. Included as part of the free update were a number of enhancements and fixes to the built-in screen reader, VoiceOver.

Most notably, when paired with a BlueTooth keyboard, these devices can now be fully navigated using keyboard commands, similar to those available as part of Apple's VoiceOver product on Mac OS X. All screens can be navigated and all gestures performed from the keyboard, improving its utility in note-taking and other situations.

A variety of other minor changes and bug fixes have also been introduced for VoiceOver users in iOS 4.1.

The update is available for all iPhone and iPod touch devices compatible with iOS 4 immediately. iOS 4.2 will bring this functionality and more to the iPad in November.

posted on: September 9th, 2010

CapturaTalk for Windows Mobile phones reads aloud email, Pocket Word files, Web sites, and PDF files.  It can even speak text captured by the phone's camera.  Each word is highlighted as it is read. CapturaTalk also has a dictionary that provides on-demand definitions.

posted on: September 8th, 2010

Google has a new free tool called Scribe that help you fill out web forms by predicting the words you may want to enter.  Unlike other personalized word prediction tools, you cannot store your own suggestions -- Scribe uses Google's vast web database to make its guesses.  There's a bookmarklet that you can add to your browser.

posted on: September 7th, 2010

BookSense DS from GW Micro is an e-reader with an OLED display for maximizing high contrast for low vision users. The BookSense model can handle multiple formats, including MP3, DAISY Consortium.

">DAISY; the BookSense XT can also read Microsoft Word documents and play digital talking books.

posted on: September 2nd, 2010

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) AccessWorld program published an article on the different e-book readers designed for blind consumers.

posted on: September 2nd, 2010

Access Tech News has an article with a table of portable CCTV-type magnifiers, comparing their features and prices. There are also photos of each, in action.

posted on: August 30th, 2010

The Digit-Eyes Audio Labeling System is a $30 iPhone app that lets users create labels and apply them to important items such as packaged goods, prescription drugs, personal items, using either text or a recorded audio message.  When you scan the label the iPhone recognizes it and speaks the content.

Users begin by printing custom text labels or recording audio labels that they make by scanning specially coded labels and speaking into their phones. They attach the labels to household items, and the messages are played back whenever the codes are rescanned with their iPhone's built-in camera. The app can also scan manufacturer codes (UPC, EAN, ISBN) and say what's inside the package after checking the Digit-Eyes product database. An iPhone can store over five hundred hours of information and can be used just about anywhere.

posted on: August 30th, 2010

AutoVerbal Talking Soundboard for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad provides a solution for those who have difficulty communicating.

The app provides three ways to speak, including hundreds of built-in phrases in over a dozen categories, several programmable buttons to speak custom messages such as your name, and the option to type any message and have it spoken using text to speech.

posted on: August 29th, 2010

Apple's iPhone 4 has a forward facing high-resolution camera with flash, a motion and position detector, a higher resolution screen, and longer battery life.

The iOS operating system accessibility features include:

  • Support for 30+ Bluetooth wireless braille displays
  • Braille tables for 25+ international languages
  • Touch Typing is an optional new way for VoiceOver users to type on the onscreen keyboard. With Touch Typing, you can run your finger across the keyboard, listening to each letter as it's spoken aloud. When you get to the letter you want, lift your finger to select it.
  • Add rotor settings while web browsing, such as lists, tables, text fields, and buttons
  • The rotor is now visible to sighted users to make it easier for them to assist you or to use the rotor themselves.
  • Large Font lets you further increase the font size of key elements in Mail, Contacts, Notes, and Messages.
  • FaceTime allows video calling over WiFi, including sign language, via the forward facing camera.
posted on: August 29th, 2010

From Mac-cessibility:

The National Braille Press (NBP) have published a new book entitled "Using the Accessible iPod, iTunes 9 Edition", by Ana Dresner.

This book provides the latest information on the accessible iPods created by Apple - the fourth and fifth generation iPod Nanos and the third generation iPod Shuffle - and the latest version of iTunes. Anna Dresner walks you through getting started with iTunes and using all the accessible features on these iPods. You'll learn to import music into iTunes; use the iTunes store; sync music, audiobooks, podcasts and video to your iPod; and much more. Appendices provide answers to frequently asked questions and resources for keeping up with new iPod developments.?

The title is available in hard copy braille, electronic braille, print, and DAISY Consortium.

">DAISY, on disk or as a digital download.

posted on: August 29th, 2010

odt2braille is a free Windows add-on for OpenOffice that allows files created in any of the OpenOffice applications to be translated into braille format. It supports multiple languages as well as Nemeth and other math coding.

posted on: August 29th, 2010

VI Fit is a pair of Wii games (Tennis and Bowling) designed for blind players. Information is conveyed through audio and through vibrating the standard Wii controller.

posted on: August 29th, 2010

Reader is a feature in version 5 of the Safari browser that makes some Web pages less cluttered. Reader removes ads and other visually distracting elements. This makes pages  easier to understand for people with some cognitive disabilities, and may make pages work more efficiently with assistive technologies.

The Reader button appears at the far right side of the address bar of compatible pages. Click on this button to activate Reader.

posted on: August 28th, 2010

DotSUB hosts captioned videos and has an online tool to caption your videos.

posted on: August 26th, 2010

Solona.net offers screen protectors with tactile feedback to ease typing on Apple iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch. In addition, new tactile layouts have been created for a variety of uses ranging from general reference of screen regions to iPod controls.

More information is available on the Solona.net Enhanced Screen Protector page.

posted on: August 26th, 2010

Many users who rely on assistive technology and Facebook.com had begun using Facebook Lite, a slimmed down version of the popular social networking site which offered most of the features of the full site, but a cleaner interface and better accessibility, regardless of the platform or technology being used to access the service.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced it would be shutting down Facebook Lite without explanation or warning. Visiting Lite.Facebook.com now redirects users to the main Facebook site.

AT users looking for a better experience than the full site are limited to the mobile version of Facebook now, although it provides far fewer features than the Lite version did.

posted on: August 26th, 2010

iBooks, the Apple iPad application that doubles as a digital bookstore and electronic book reader, supports VoiceOver, the iPad's built-in screen reader. Using familiar gestures, content from the iBooks store or synced to the user's device via iTunes can be read page-by-page or in a continuous fashion by VoiceOver.

Additionally, font and brightness settings can be fine-tuned to accommodate low vision users with larger fonts or greater contrast.

posted on: August 20th, 2010

From the EASI listserv:

Existing MS Project charts are more compatible with JAWS if they are saved as web pages and viewed in a browser.  This technique depends on the type of chart and the information it contains.

posted on: August 20th, 2010

This 32-inch TV includes a built-in wireless transmitter and headset for better listening, an easy-to-use, color-coded remote control, and an automatic shut-off feature that engages after four hours of inactivity.   The price is $995 or higher; apparently, audiologists who recommend it get a commission.

posted on: August 20th, 2010

iSubtitle (from the developer or from Apple) is a Mac (Leopard or higher) application that allows you to mix in an SRT caption file to any file that QuickTime supports.  You can then re-save the video or export it to preset size options for an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.

SRT files are editable text-based files with time information - it is easy to make a change and then add the SRT caption file to the movie again.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

From the Teaching Learners with Multiple Needs blog, here’s a great list of cases, stands, etc. that make iPads more useful for people with (mostly dexterity) impairments.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

Blio, available as of September 28, 2010, will give users text-to-speech, magnification, and other control over how its electronic books are presented. It runs on computers and mobile devices.  Watch a video demonstration, from 1:01 to 9:12.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

Devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) or higher can now run a free screen magnifier provided by IDEAL Group’s Apps4Android.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

Dragon Dictation is a free download for iPhone/iPad that does speech recognition.  There is an email speech recognition app for Blackberry also.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

Google Voice is a free service with useful features for people with hearing loss.

1. You can set it to ring all of your phone numbers (home, cell, work, etc.) whenever anyone calls you.  This increases your chance of hearing the ring.  

2. Google Voice can transcribe your voice messages and send the text to you with the original audio as well.  So you can hear the message and see a transcript of it.

3. If you answer a call using a phone that’s hard to hear on, you can transfer it to any other phone you want.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

A dentist who serves a lot of deaf and hard of hearing patients reports that he uses a speech recognition system to communicate during treatment; his words are converted to text which is displayed on a screen so the patient can read it.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

Frustrated with confusing, distracting, glitzy web pages?  Readability is a web tool that simplifies the layout of any web page, including color and font size improvements.  Try it on your own website to see if there are ways it could be simpler.

Note: as of February 2011, Readability offers both a free version (Firefox addon) and a paid version with additional features; some of the revenue goes to writers and publishers.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

Electronic picture frames make great interactive media tools.  You can load them with photos, or images for education, socializing, etc., that you create.  Many come with a remote that lets you go forward and backward through the images, and they sell for ~$50 almost everywhere.  Some (priced a bit higher) allow you to load images remotely, over the Internet and a wireless network.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

Often, website developers don't know that their sites are inaccessible. The best way for them to learn is to get feedback from users.  The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has released the Helen Project Toolbar that lets you report inaccessible sites you find while browsing.  Your anonymous reports show up on the AFB website and blog feed.

posted on: August 18th, 2010

To find captioned material on Hulu, click on the folder tabs marked either "Most Popular" or "Recently Added," look for the line beginning with the words, "Video Type," and then click on the image at the end of the line that says "CC only". Most of the dramas on ABC, Fox, and NBC appear to be available with captions, and some programs from cable networks are available as well.